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J o u r n a l

o f

S t a r k L i g h t

t h e
Pre s s

P a r a n o r m a l
Pu b l i c a t i o n

P u b l i s h e r
To n y S t a r k
E d i t o r i n C h i e f
Vi rg i n i a C a rr a w a y S t a r k

Pa r a n o r m a l Q &
L . E . C a i n e

U F O R e p o r t
To n y S t a r k
O u t e r m o s t A r c h i v e s
Vi rg i n i a C a rr a w a y S t a r k
J e n n S p a u l d i n g
S h a ro n F l o o d
Pa r a p s y c h o l o g y
L i z B u t c h e r




o u t e rm o s t s u b m i s s i o n s @ g m a i l . c o m
w w w. o u t e rm o s t j o u rn a l . w o rd p re s s . c o m

J o u r n a l

o u t e r m o s t
o f t h e Pa r a n o r m a l

Vo l .

I s s u e

Virginia Carrawa y Stark is editor in chief of StarkLight Press and

Director at the National Paranormal Society. She has written
extensivel y on the paranormal and injects her considerable
knowledge on the subject into her speculative fiction and
screenpla ys. You can find Virginia's work through StarkLight Press.
She works with other writers, artists and poets to hone her talents
and to offer encouragement and insight to others. She has been an
honorable mention at Canne Film Festival for her screenplay, Blind Eye and
was nominated for an Aurora Award.
J.L. Estes is a self-published author of two poetry books; Book of Sorrows and
The Broken
Ones, both as a Kindle version or as a trade paperback and can be purchased
on Amazon.com.
Ms. Estes has also been recognized by the Library of Congress for her mastery
of poetry and her poem Shattered is published in their edition the
International Whos Who in Poetry 2012. She is currently slaving over her first
fiction novel Insanity, look for it soon. She is earning her
Bachelors Degree in Forensic Psychology, with hopes of running her own crime lab one day.
She is also an honorary member of the elite National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Bravely,
she has chosen to be an advocate for Victims of Violence, so they no longer have to suffer in
silence. Please join her fight, check out her website; Victims of Violence
http://toddandjenn02.wix.com/sufferinginsilence. Contact her anytime she will answer any and
all questions; sweetjeni74@stu.argosy.edu. You can also follow her on Twitter, J.L. Estes
L,E, Caine is a staff writer for Starklight Press as well as an artist in
her own right. She started off her career in writing as a ghost writer
and later ventured into the world of science fiction and fantasy with
the occasional horrendous horror story that she claims helps her to
'vent murderous urges'.
She is a frequent contributor both here and to various wiccan,
empath and magical bulletin boards.

StarkLight Press has found in Sharon Flood an excellent

author and editor, whose timely work allows SLP to share
even more thrilling, exciting fiction with our fans. She pens
a monthl y story on ghosts and hauntings in Sharon's
Spookies. You can find her work at

and at http://www.amazon.com/Forevermore-Travel-AnthologySharon-Flood-ebook/dp/B00XSBH4UW
Ms. Butcher resides in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband,
daughter and two cats, Pandora and Zeus. While writing is her
passion, her numerous interests include psychology, history,
astronom y, the paranormal, mythology, reading, art and music,
and help fuel her imagination. She also loves being out in nature,
whether it be walking through the trees or relaxing at the beach.
Liz has previousl y published Wrath in the Lurking In The Deep
and Haunting Gemma in the Twisted Tales anthologies and
currently has a number of projects in the works. She writes our Parapsycholog y
column and adds to our fiction section some of her chilling tales.
Anthony Stark is a writer and editor with a background in
engineering, science and medicine. Growing up in the wilds of the
far north he had a lot of time to hone his skills both in research
and in communications. With a wealth of experiences and travel he
has a practical approach to writing and to life. He has taught
classes in art, first aid and tutored university students as has
polished his knack for explaining nearl y an y subject in a relatable
wa y. He has alwa ys been a writer, practicing as a youth on essa ys
'for fun' and moving on to writing technical manuals, articles, novels and short
stories. His array of talents is useful in nearly an y field lends itself especially
to the diverse world of writing, to which he adds his own innate diverse

Where is the line when magic crosses into black magic?

That's a matter of fierce debate in the magical community. The bottom line is that you have to
search your heart and figure out your intentions. Are you doing something out of malice? Are
you jealous? Those reasons are usually when things start to turn sour.
Many modern magical practitioners have strict rules about not getting any personal gain or
about anything that isn't purely defensive. This is crap. The first rule of magic is that you don't
hurt anyone else and otherwise nothing is evil. I mean it, if you aren't hurting anyone go for it.
The idea of black magic is tied up with the concept of sin and other ideas that we've gotten
into the habit of believing in. Things like sin don't happen in nature. You eat what you need to
eat and you do whatever it takes to protect you and your loved ones. I mean it, whatever it
The line only crosses over into black magic when you prey off of people who have done
nothing to you but your jealousy or greed or whatever causes you to take what you want
through magical means. Now, keep in mind if your white magic protection spell culminates in
human sacrifice you have harmed someone and turned and innocent spell into a piece of
wicked shit. Don't do that.
The other thing that you might not have thought of is that there is a difference between black
magic and stupid magic. Magic always comes at a price, not even the candles are free.
Everything costs you effort and probably money but at the very least energy. It's a lot easier to
sweep the floor than to do a spell to get someone else to do it for you. Don't do spells like
that. If you can achieve your ends by doing things with your real life body don't fuck with the
powers of gods and goddesses, demons, angels, elementals, trees, whatever. Remember
that every time you do magic it's like you're bugging someone to help you fix your problems
for you. You go to the universe and say, 'Can I borrow some energy, luck and oh, maybe five
Think carefully when you do any spell no matter how simple it can have bigger ramifications
than you imagine. In short, use your commonsense and you won't piss off any spirits, deities
or cross over into black magic.

How do I get rid of a stalker? Magically I mean.

Stalkers are hard. That's a fact whether you deal with them physically or magically. I'm
assuming from your addendum to your question that you've tried the traditional methods of
trying to get rid of stalker: things like asking them to leave, telling them to bugger off or you'll
call the cops and if it's serious calling the cops for real.
There are different kinds of stalkers as well. Some of them are psychic vampires, in fact I
would say that most stalkers fall into this category. The stalker doesn't want what's best for
you, they want you to be with them for their own selfish reasons and that falls under energy
theft. You're best bet for getting rid of a psychic vampire stalker is to take some firm measures
to assert that your energy belongs to you and you alone.
Cut your tie to them. Literally. Take a pair of scissors and snip above your hand, envisioning a
cable that connects you to your stalker while you do it. Do the same thing to the bottom of
your feet. Don't cut yourself, that would be stupid. Then:
The big blue shield.
Sit with your hands either holding your feet, cross legged on the bed or wherever, or put your
feet to each other and your hands to each other. Hands and feet are where you are most
likely to spring a leak so you've got to protect these places.
Now you meditate and envision: Yep, a big blue shield. I emanates from your throat and you
can hum while you do this or sing or whatever you're most comfortable with. Your throat
chakra is blue and happens to be a very awesome defensive color and mechanism.
You now have your shield. I'm assuming you're not an idiot or a scatterbrain and you had the
focus to make it well. If you can't make a blue shield then you're pretty hopeless to you better
work on that.
Next step: Drink lemon. Bathe in lemon and salt. These work even better than garlic at
keeping vampires at bay.
Finally, when/if you see your stalker again, when you speak to them clasp your hands
together to avoid them trying to take your energy through them. If you can sit cross legged
without being deemed a total freak do that too. Keep your circuits closed against them and
they'll quickly find some easier prey and move on.
I think a friend of mine is using magic to get what she wants out of life, what should I do about
The first thing that comes to mind when I hear your question is, 'Why do you care?'.

Is she hurting other people do get what she wants? If she is Karma will sort her out sooner
rather than later. Stay away from her. You can read my earlier posts about doing a binding
ritual or a banishing ritual if she is hurting you personally or people you care deeply about. If
she's hurting random people keep your nose out of it, you aren't the hand of Karma.
Are you jealous? There's nothing wrong with using magic to improve your life. All that bullshit
about not using it for personal gain that they constantly go on about on television shows is
exactly that: bullshit.
Magic has always been used to protect and enhance life and that is the nature of good magic.
The fact that she's successfully using magic to get good things out of life could be considered
proof that she's being responsible with her magic and her life and is being rewarded for her
good energy and intents. Your question was extremely vague, 'what should you do about it?'. I
have no idea why you think you should do anything about it. Without a hell of a lot more
information my advice is to mind your own magics and leave your 'friend' alone.
The other thing is: have you considered asking her about it? Do you even know if she
practices magic? If you think she's using magic to steal what rightfully belongs to other people
then you need to talk to her about it second. First you need to examine your own intentions
and try to figure out how much of what your own intentions are and how they are impacting
your ability to be non-biased.
If you want to give me more information about the situation I would be able to pin point the
advice to you better.
For you and anyone else seeking magical advice my email contact is:

Interview with Jenn Spaulding about her Abduction, Incarceration and Rape by John T. Jemelske
Inteviewed by Virginia Carraway Stark (VCS).

I have been friends with Jenn Spaulding for several years now. Through the years I have seen her have
highs and lows from the consequences of being a victim of abuse. Ultimately I have seen a strong
woman who still believes in hope and happy endings. Her creative talents have flourished as she finds
the strength to move on to new chapters in her life despite the events she describes here.

As you read this article, I ask that you don't see Jenn as a victim but rather as a survivor. She is still
fighting for her life in some part of her mind as she is trapped in that cell, but day by day I see her
become more free. I see her as a devoted mother and a loving friend whose loyalty and fierceness are
part of her fighting spirit that kept her sane and alive during her incarceration.

I hope that as you read this you don't dismiss her as yet another victim in a world full of victims. I want
you to see her as a symbol of hope. Whether metaphorical or actual captivity we all have it in us to not
only survive but to thrive.
Thank you for reading this with an open mind and an open heart.
Bear in mind that the following interview is extremely triggering and if such subjects are a trigger for
you please skip ahead past the interview.

Why don't you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
I am a 41 year old dreamer, who believes in the power of positivity and love to overcome struggles. I
love hiking, camping, and fishing. Basically anything to do with the outdoors. At times when I write an
article or a story, I often find myself wanting to hoard my work. Like its some kind of big secret that I
don't want anyone else to see. If you think about an author's pieces are no more than glimpses into his
or her mind. about it

Much of the writing you do share has a dark and often sexual aspect to it, would you say these pieces
are easier to share or do you keep the really dark ones hidden away?
I think that its not persay easier to share as it is to get out of my head. I am currently working on not
hiding the darker stories away. I am a survivor of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. The
trauma began in my life when I was only 7. As much as I'd like to leave these elements from my
writing they always seem to find their way in.
You have had several exceptional events occur to you throughout your life, could you tell us what
happened to you during your abduction and what lead to it?
A few months before I was taken I had just come out of 8 month relationship that ended because he was
unfaithful to me. Then my life was a whirlwind of working and many many ladies nights out. It was
during this time my captor began stalking me. You must realize I was a little wild at this time and had
begun experimenting with acid. On the night in question my friend bailed on me and I never made it
safely to the club. Instead I walked from the N. side of Syracuse to the W side of Syracuse. It was late
and I was pretty inebriated, so when a group of young African american boys began following me and
saying derogatory things, I didn't hesitate to get in my captors car; he was an old harmless white man.
Or so I thought. for the next 56 days, from May 11, 2001 to July 7, 2001), I was a slave to every single
of John Jamelske's whims. I never thought I would make it out of that dungeon with no light, a bucket
to piss in, newspaper to do the other business in, and hot milk jugs filled with water to bath in. He
raped me everyday. Perhaps the worse thing is he made me be his friend and I loathed him. When he
released me he put a hooded sweatshirt backwards over my face and put plastic strip handcuffs on me, I
thought I was going to die. However he simply dropped me at my mother's house (which I never told
him where it was).
How did you find ways to mentally survive this while it was happening?
Quite honestly I prayed and relied heavily upon my spirit friends for guidance. Ever since I was a child
I could communicate with spirits. I wasn't allowed paper and pen so I couldn't write which was
probably worse than being raped. I watched a lot of TV!
What do you mean by 'spirit friends'?
Since I was a child I have had a relationship with several spirits that have given me hope in times when
there was none. I believe that they are the spirits of my ancestors.
Could you explain more about that? How do you see/sense them?

Usually they will appear when I close my eyes and call to them, but sometimes I have seen there
unearthly figures sitting or standing next to me. There are 2 women, a little girl of 7 or 8, and 3 men.
Two of whom I am leery of. I believe the other male is my great great grandfather Rank
Which ones are you leery of and why?
I am leery of the two men because I do not know who they are, they never talk and only ever watch. I
do not know what they want, but for shits and giggles I went to a psychic with one of my friends and
sure as shit she seen the spirits around me, but told me to watch out for the two men
Did you ever see them before you were sexually abused? Perhaps they are connected to your abusers?
Yes I did begin to see them then and I never thought of that
How did having these connections to these good and ill spirits affect you during your captivity?
Let's say that the good spirits kept me from losing it completely and the ill will guys were there waiting
for when I did lose it. For 56 days I lived every single second of my life in fear. Can you imagine what
that must do to a person?
I think it would be hard for anyone who hasn't been through such an experience to imagine it. How did
the good spirits help you?
They would fill me with joy when I was surrounded by doom and misery. I felt it in my heart. I think it
is why I still carry love in my heart
They would do this for you while you were being abused or would they only come after he left again?
They would come after, they were strangely absent during those times.
Maybe it was hard for them to be there during the actual violence or aggression. How did you pass the
time while you were locked up, other than tv?
Praying as he wouldn't give me anything but the bible to read. So I would say all these prayers against
my enemies and I told him that God was going to get him for what he did. Guess what? That is how he
got caught. The 16 year old girl said she wanted to go to church so he brought her well she called her
sister who called the cops. So God did get him.

Was he religious? Why did he say he gave you a bible?
I asked him for it no I begged him and no he wasn't religious. The bible he gave me was inscribed 1906
and included a prayer book he said it was his mothers

John Jemelske, Serial Rapist

How did he react when you told him God would get him?
Like he was untouchable and shrugged his shoulders like whatever man when you just asked that I had
a flashback and seen him in my mind doing it. *Shivers*
Did you think you would survive when you were trapped there?
Oh no I thought I was a goner

How did you deal with that?
I prayed because I literally had nothing else. He had no reason to keep me alive. I watched as
volunteers were combing the woods for my body. Can you imagine seeing yourself on a Missing
Poster. I used to scream I'm here I'm here til my voice was ragged. I tried to pry the heavy metal door
open til my fingertips bled. I have scars.
Why do you think that he decided to let you go? Were there any changes that preceded your release?
He had burned me with a cigar on my back the first night because I refused to comply and fought him
off of me, it had become infected. I don't know if that's why or he just grew tired and was ready for the
next piece in his collection

You say 'his collection', could you explain a bit more about that?
Well if you think about the girls he kidnapped (5 including me) we were all a different race

Why do you think he would do such a thing? Did you ever speculate on what his 'theory' was and why
he was compelled to make a 'collection'?
I have no idea why even FBI profilers couldn't figure him out. I have speculated so much on what his
theory was that it drove me to pursue a degree in Forensic Psychology.
What happened immediately after he released you?
I hugged my mom and my sister Christa (who recently passed away from Cancer) and asked them to
put on a pot of coffee and took the longest shower of my life. I reeked like mold and mildew so much
so that I cannot take that smell at all.
What did you do after that to rebuild your life?
Well it took a long, long time. It wasn't until I began college two years ago that I began to gain my self
confidence and self worth back

I mean the year Jamelske was captured I was 6 months pregnant and just beginning my relationship
with Todd, who I first met when he was 16 and I was 20. Then I was blessed with my daughter in 2006,
but I always felt unworthy of it all.
What happened to Jamelske?
He ended up going to jail for 18 to life

Did you ever see him again?
No I opted out of facing him in the court room and wrote a victim impact statement, but I did see him
on several Tv shows that I did.
not in person, but on TV
Would you ever want to confront him?
Honestly I don't think I could. Not because I am scared but because the whole time I was down there I
would ask him why he didn't try to kidnap me when I was sober? If I was sober he wouldn't have been
able to get me. I lived on my own in a rough part of the city from the time I was 15 until I was 27. So
needless to say I am a brawler, plus I am Irish and German so I have a really short fuse. I just don't
know that I wouldn't want to hurt him or do to him exactly what he did to me.
Do you feel like the scales have been balanced for you by his jail sentence?
Absolutely not because while he gets three hots and a cot. I am out here struggling with bills and
picking up the pieces from bouts with PTSD.
Besides he will be out in 2 years what then?
Do you have a coping strategy in place for when he is released?

Frankly, I have blocked it from my mind until just now.
So there is still some coping to do on that account then. Do you think you'll be alright?
I have a really good support/writing group who I may have to rely heavily on or so I hope to. Plus there
are always books to read!
Very true! Do you have any closing thoughts you'd like to share?
Please never get into a car with someone you don't know. If you are going to get tipsy always use the
buddy system. PTSD is a very hard disease to understand and to deal with. Many succumb to it and end
their life rather than deal with it. If you know someone that has PTSD don't turn your back on them
when they push you away, as we are just trying to keep you from getting hurt. We don't really want to
be alone.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences both spiritual and mundane on this ordeal.

Abusers, Manipulators and Sociopaths: The Making of Living and Dead Ghosts.
By Virginia Carraway Stark
I was going to write an article about fakers, about people who see other people get abused and then
claim the exact same thing happened to them or try to change it just enough to personalize it to their
own lives but the more research I did about these people who I thought of as 'fakers' the more I realized
that these were actually abusers in disguise.
Most women (or men) who claim to have been abused or had violence committed against them in one
form or another are telling the truth. The fact of the matter is that admitting to being the victim of abuse
is demeaning and difficult. This is one of the first warning signs that what you are seeing is an abuser
and not a victim: Victims find it hard to talk about what happened while Abusers seem to glory in every
gory detail.
How does this tie into the supernatural and the paranormal? There are a lot of ways but the prime way
is that Abuse causes energy signatures. It leaves an imprint and even if the Victim survives the abuse
there is a part of their tortured spirit that is left behind. Any violence leaves an imprint and Abusers,
Manipulators and Sociopaths leave a wake of energy from their torn up Victims behind them.

It is all well and good to go ghost hunting but lets not forget that something happened to make these
ghosts. The 'real' world violence is what causes there to be ghosts in the first place and with violence
and abuse being rampant it isn't any wonder that there are so many haunted highways, houses and
I had a stalker for many years who followed me from city to city, who inserted herself into my life,
stole my writing, physically, verbally and emotionally attacked me and who would not get out of my
life. Despite the fact that I called the police, took her in for psychiatric help and did everything I
possibly could for her the fact of the matter came down to I had to stop all contact with her and get her
out of my life in order to stop the abuse.
What did she do the second I locked my door to her once and for all? She ran around saying that I had
abused her. She told stories in graphic violent detail and rallied her family and friends (who she had
also accused of abusing her) as she vilified me and my husband. Her details were disturbing and many
of them were taken either from stories I had written in an effort to deal with my own abuse, or from
fictionalized accounts of abuse.

So we have a case of 'I said, she said', how do we tell who is telling the truth and who is lying?
Well, the first thing is that I had been asking for help for years. I had been calling the police, taking her
in for psychiatric help, buying her psychiatric medication for her, asking her friends and family to
please, please help me. She, on the other hand, praised me to the sky until the moment I shut my door
in her face. As soon as I closed off to her she inverted the story and said that I had been evil all along. It
didn't answer the question: Why didn't you leave? You had so many chances to tell so many authority
figures about things and you never did.
The next way to tell and Abuser from the Victim lay in certainty.
Abusers are ready to tell the world exactly what happened and to describe in endless terms what is
wrong with the Victim. Victims tend to not know what is going on and even with healing and
acceptance, the confusion of what exactly happened lingers with them. I will never understand why K
followed me from city to city. I will never understand why she fixated on me in particular. I will never
understand anything about it and she killed herself so those answers (if there were any) went to the
grave with her.
She was much more certain about things, once she decided that I was abusive of her that is. She had a
history of wanting to be desired and she would tell everyone how much everyone wanted to have sex
with her. How desirable she was. How everyone abused her because of it. Hmmmm...
The issue of K has been one that I've been able to move on from in life. She was, I am sure abused at
some point by someone and that is part of what makes the issue of Abuser or Victim cloudy. It is a rare
Abuser who wasn't a Victim at some point in their past.
Another trait to look for is that Abusers never change their tricks. There is a pattern of behavior with
Abusers that is impossible to miss. A good example of this is with my Dad. I ran away from home for a
decade and when I came back he seemed like he was different at first but it turned out that life had
continued in the same abusive way after I had left as it had been when I had been there. I also learned
that the same way he had slandered my mother he had slandered me as well.
It took me awhile to realize that nothing had changed in him and even longer for me to realize what he
had been saying about me behind my back. I knew that the family that I had left treated me like I was
some sort of freak but once again, I was just confused about why they acted that way and no one would
answer my questions directly. When I finally cornered my Dad and got a few grudging answers out of
him I dropped him forever. Nothing changes with these people. Their tactics with different people
might change but the patterns of their abuse don't.

Take K as an example. She was well known to

say that everyone wanted her sexually and if anyone opposed her in anyway she would say they raped
her and run to all her allies for help. All the while she bragged about taking advantage of girls at parties
who were passed out and doing things to them when they were vulnerable. This set up didn't change for
K until the day she died.
When K thought she had a chance at reconciliation with me (and found out what town I was in), after
telling people horrific stories about me and my husband she came back to our door and told us that it
was our friends L and D who had forced her to say these things and that she never would have said
them if they hadn't raped her and forced her.
There is another type of abuser as well and this type is a bit more confusing and hard to pin down
because the abuse is emotional rather than physical. Emotional Abusers can be tracked in a similar way
to the physical Abusers. They have patterns.
They will suddenly point a finger and say that someone has been physically abusing them for decades
when there isn't any sign that there has been anything happening. They will imitate the stories of others
so that they can get more allies and will tell the stories of abuse in gory detail, reveling n spreading illrepute about someone who they perceive as having crossed them. Maybe the Abuser just wants to trade
up, maybe they want to avoid alimony or child support.
Take the example of J Duell. Duell lived for twenty years with the same man and had many children
with him. One day she walked away from him and the children and within the week had a new
boyfriend, a new car, a new apartment and then she turned around and said she had been being abused
for the past twenty years and that her psychotic ex had nearly killed her with his physical abuse.
This story bothers me on several levels. The first thing is that she seemed to have no problem with
leaving her children with her ex and doesn't seem to think they fit into her new lifestyle. Abusers are
good at dropping anything that becomes an inconvenience to them when it suits them. Duell had
decided that she wanted to be a writer and she read my blog about my abuse and was deeply impacted
by it. The thing that seemed to impact her the most wasn't my actual blog but rather how my blog
affected other people.
A lot of people will read my blog and and they will say things like, 'I'm so glad to know I'm not alone',
'Thank you for sharing your story, I'm so happy you got away', and things like that. Duell didn't say
anything like that when she read my blog. She didn't say that she related to it in anyway, she just said

that it was really, 'good' and that it sure seemed to impact a lot of people.
She didn't say anything else until almost a month later when she announced that her husband was
psychotic and had beaten her for the past twenty years. The very next thing she said was, 'Stay tuned
for my book on how I survived my years of abuse'.
First of all, it was surprising that the first thing she wanted to do was a tell-all book about her Abuse. It
is too definite, it isn't easy to figure out what happened when you've been a victim and this is multiplied
when it has been going on for decades. Her alleged abuser has the confused, hurt and sad reaction of a
victim. He asks again and again, 'why did she leave, why would she say these things?'
The language of the Victim is the language of 'why'. Duell seems to have all the answers whereas her
husband is left in a bewildered fugue.
I use Duell as an example because there is a legitimate mystery there. Unlike the other cases I've sited
here I didn't live through the ordeal. I wasn't involved in the marriage or know either participant very
well. All I can say for sure is what I see and what language each party uses.
That is the only way to really tell Victims from Abusers, listen and feel. If you find yourself violently
reacting to a story ask yourself if its too sensational, if the details are too vibrant and if the language is
designed to shock you. If a Victim is telling their story the details may be shocking but it is the shock of
sorrow and heartbreak rather than the sensationalism of a horror movie.
Abusers have usually spent years convincing their victims that they are less than them. They have
played games with their Victim's minds, made them doubt their own sanity. Victims are much like
ghosts, they are constantly reliving their abuse and trying to exorcise the violence from their lives.
Much like ghosts, the pain is relieved by being able to talk about the violence and get it out of
themselves. For Victims and Ghosts, the shame of having been taken by a force stronger than them is a
slow process to overcome.

Some Victims, much like Ghosts become wrathful and vindictive and abusive themselves. Be careful
when you wade into these waters, not everything is always as it seems. Listen for the quiet honesty that
comes like a faded voice and gently speaks the truth.

Divine Leaders Ride Unicorns

By Virginia Carraway Stark
In North Korea it is believed that the first dictator Kim-Il Sung who took power in 1948 also
created the world. The dictators have put together a hodge podge of Christianity, Buddhism and
other religions to put the country into a confusing but iron fist of rule through fear. So firmly is it
believed that the Dictator is akin to god that to defy, rebel or even show disrespect is akin to
heresy. In North Korea if the divine leader says hes riding a unicorn, you better believe that hes
riding a unicorn, your life and soul may depend on your ability to do so.
This seems insane but actually, this isnt anything new. In England the King was believed to be
chosen by God and so to defy the king was to defy God. This is also the belief held about the
Pope in the Catholic Church.
The problem with Divine Rule is that it is something that has no proof and there is really only the word of the ruler and
perhaps his supporters to claim that this is the will of a divine force. Claiming to have created the world further complicates
the lives of people in North Korea and since North Korea is a small country with very few windows to the outside world,
defying the dictator is essentially something that can end the world. This is a good reason to adhere to rational thought and to
apply scientific reason to any and all hypothesis.

The Cult of Personality is a ploy enacted by not just dictators but also by cults and by nearly any person or group who is
looking to have a strangle hold on people. This isnt just an affection or admiration for someone, it is marked by the intensity
of feeling and the levels of devotion both demanded by the leader and offered by the followers.
When examining the paranormal in context with North Korea it is difficult to find much through normal channels because
most of the culture was violently expunged. All loyalty must be to the Kim family and anything else is punishable by death or
work camps where few escape from. The punishment is not just of the offender but also of all their family and even
generations not yet born will live, work and die in these camps for vague offences.
These beliefs fly in the face of science and reason again and again and have made North Korea
the laughing stock of the entire world. In 2013 researchers claimed to have found the unicorn
This proof was some alleged carving on a rock near a cave that said, unicorn lair. According to
the supreme dictator of Korea this proves Koreas divine right to rule because of an ancient story
that the ruler of a powerful city akin to the western idea of Camelot rode a unicorn into the city.
Thats a long ways to go to try to prove your divine leadership!
At the very least we can learn from North Koreas approach to culture and the paranormal that
science and rationality is integral. It is a nearly purely negative example since all we know about the paranormal is North
Korea is extremely dubious and unreliable. Fortunately we have some untainted information about the entire Korean
peninsula thanks to South Korea or the entire culture would now be lost to us.

Getting Rid of Evil in Your Life

By Virginia Carraway Stark

People often wonder if they are just cursed in life. There are a lot of people who believe in curses and although whether or
not they are real is in question, the placebo effect of having the proactive ability to do something to remove a curse.
It is difficult to be certain if you are laboring under a curse but asking yourself some basic questions can help to sort it out.
1.Is there any other explanation for what you are experiencing.
This is important because if you blame every bad day that you have on a curse then you remove your own
accountability in life and you remove your own authority in your life. Its best if you can fix your problems yourself

without finding a magical reason for things that have gone wrong.If you decide that things are too preternatural to be
normal, then it is time to move on to the next question.
2.Have you made someone very angry or very jealous?
This question can be difficult to answer when there can be people watching us that we dont know about. If someone is
stalking you in life or in social media or both it can take time to realize someone has an unhealthy interest in you. So,
examine this question as carefully and objectively as possible.
3.Does the person you have upset have the knowledge and ability to place a hex against you?
If you still believe you are suffering from a curse after asking yourself these questions and doing a bit of research into
your social network, then have a look around your residence, your transportation, your work and any other places you
would consider a place of comfort for yourself. See if you find any suspicious looking things bound up in black or red
string, baggies full of mystery substance or anything else that looks as though it was placed significantly into you world.
Check places that you wouldnt normally look in and places that dont get cleaned very often especially closely.
If you find something, it is generally believed that the best way to dispose of it is through burning it, putting it in running water
or burying it far away from where you live.
If you dont find anything or if you find something and still feel accursed, then it is time to take
counter measures.
Doing spells to remove magic and protect yourself is considered to be the whitest of magic and
most faiths allow for prayers or annointing or other rituals of protection. Only do what you feel
comfortable with and if you are worried for whatever reason that removing a curse isnt ethical
then dont go against yourself.
I am going to briefly discuss the various means used to remove a curse, if you are interested in
more information there are other articles that cover specifics for how to do these.
A purifying bath is a common and time tested method for removing ill will. They vary according to
beliefs and you should also be aware that some people may have allergies, so make sure you
dont before you immerse your entire body in a bath filled with herbs youve never been exposed
to before. An old voodoo uncrossing bath calls for hyssop, salt, rue, sage and frankincense to be
put in the bath while saying the 37th Psalm.
Evil eye amulets are used in many cultures to protect from evil eye curses. These curses are
usually caused my jealousy and are often not intended but rather caused envy that a person
cant control. Usually these amulets use an eye as a motif and are most likely to be a vivid blue
that is believed to be the most likely to repel this type of curse.
Other protective amulets and talisman are greatly varied and may just be something that provides the wearer with extra
good luck, like a rabbits foot or a four leaf clover. Crucifixes, pentagrams and an enormous variety of other symbols can be
used depending on your faith and your background or beliefs.
Reflective spells that reflect evil back to the sender are a perfect white magic way to make sure that people are getting back
what they are sending your way. The basis of the idea is that just as you can reflect sunlight in a mirror, you can reflect bad
energy as well.
A protective poppet can be made. A poppet is a little doll and you can designate it as the person
who has cursed you and then direct all their ill intentions and bad mojo back to them. This is a
more complicated and advanced method than many of the others Ive mentioned here.
Slightly more grey methods include binding spells and spell tablets, each of which are used to
bind the caster from doing ill to their targets.

Its best if you can avoid getting a curse put on you at all and good spiritual practice when dealing with people can help you
avoid it. If you know who is causing the problem you need to severe all ties to them. One of the best ways to do this and to
make sure that you dont have any of their physical belongings in your house. These belongings form a bond with people and
that makes it easier for someone who is malicious to put a curse on you.
Return the items or dispose of them but get them out of personal space. Also, make sure that you get back all your personal
belongings from them. Dont leave your hairbrush, socks or even a dvd with someone who might want to put a curse on you.
If you believe in the Divine, whoever you believe in or whatever your faith, pray. Your prayer and your faith are the best way
to repel these ill intentions. Say a rosary or pray to Ra, whatever your belief set is, utilize your faith.
The last thing I will suggest is the most important and should be done regularly and thoroughly: Clean your house. Clean
everything. Sweep, vacuum, mop, dust and then jump in the shower and wash yourself off to. Get dressed in clean clothes
after and enjoy your tidy house and your tidy spiritual life.

The Ancient Navajo Legend of Skin-Walkers

By Jenn Spaulding

While it is possible that there are stories that are simply never told to outsiders that give cause to
the blanket silence of those who make their home on reservations, it is also possible that they just dont
like to talk about their neighbors when they can never know which one likes to run around at night in a
predators skin. Either way, the behavior of both the skin-walkers themselves as well as the people who
live near them indicate that skin-walkers are not a story to scare children or even a warning to stay
inside at night. They are real, and they are human, with all the benevolence and malevolence that
comes with it.- William A. Williamson
It is hard to believe that these creepy images that have been floating around the internet are real. Or that
the creature captured in the image could be real. However these scary legends are not just tall tales and
the creature captured in the image is real, as real as you and me. The paranormal have been rutted out
of their dark hiding places by the forces of technology. What will these paranormal beings do once they
realize that?
The tribes of the Navajo Indian all believe in the legend of the skin-walker. Albeit many refuse to
talk about anything pertaining to a skin-walker for fear of being punished by the skin-walker. It is said
that skin-walkers walk amongst the tribe during the day and then covertly metamorphose into a skinwalker at night.
According to Navajo legend the skin-walker is a medicine man or a witch that has evolved and
rather than using his or her power for good choose to be malicious and evil. To complete the evolution
to skin walker he or she must murder a close family member. Hence giving the skin-walker tremendous

supernatural powers which gives him or her the capability to mutate into any animal they wish or even
into another human. Although most Navajo tales are told of skin walkers preferring coyotes, owls,
foxes, wolves, or crows. This fact gives me pause because if one could change into any animal he or
she wishes, why the preference for the aforementioned animals?

There are few who have spoken of their encounters with a skin-walker and by no means are they
pleasant. A creepy paranormal being peers in and then knocks on all your windows. Then a loud
hammering begins on the walls outside of your home. Could be a skin-walker. There are tales of these
paranormal beings stalking their victims and the numerous ways in which they dole out pain and instill
fear. It has even been said that the skin-walker will steal the face of his or her human victims and that if
you lock eyes with it you become frozen with fear. Then petrified the skin-walker absorbs itself into
your skin.

Skin-walkers are rarely ever ensnared and brought to justice for their bloody atrocities, but a few have
been. A skin-walker tracker must learn everything he or she can about the skin-walker. Then he or she
must determine the skin-walkers true identity. Then he or she must look the skin walker in the eye (if
you arent paralyzed with fear) and pronounce his or her name and the name of evil in its full. Shortly
thereafter the skin-walker will get sick or die. This is the universe bringing justice upon his or head for
their crimes against humanity.
If you have seen a skin-walker or have had an encounter with one please contact the publishers at
Outermost, we will be happy to hear your stories. We have no problem with anonymity and
discreteness knowing that these beings retaliate when you talk about them. I have provided links below
for those interested in reading some of the tales of encounters with skin-walkers.
1. http://sites.lib.byu.edu/worldhistory/folklore-william-a-wilson-folklore-archives/popular-searchtopics/skin-walkers-navajo-legend/
2. http://moviepilot.com/posts/2907100
References: Brigham Young University. (2016). World History and Culture. Skin-Walkers (Navajo
Legend). Retrieved from: http://sites.lib.byu.edu/worldhistory/folklore-william-a-wilson-folklorearchives/popular-search-topics/skin-walkers-navajo-legend/
Navajo Legends. (2016). Navajo Skin-Walker Legend. Retrieved from:

What is the Meaning of Birthmarks?

By Jenn Spaulding

What is the Meaning of Birthmarks?

I have two fawn colored heart-shaped birthmarks, one on my right bicep and the other on the
backside of my hip. They are not ugly and Ive never given them much thought, but they are a part of
me. Thus I became curious. What does it mean? Does it mean Im special? Does it symbolize that I am
a gifted sensitive empath? All these questions and many more zoom through my mind as I ponder the
topic of birthmarks. This month we will explore what the true meanings of birthmarks are.
Along with my growing interest in the meaning of birthmarks it seems Im joined in my interest
by the rest of the world. Many people speculate that birthmarks are a sign of a psychic. Many others
believe that birthmarks signify proof of a past life. The most popular theory is that birthmarks indicate
things that happened in a previous life. For example, a person is stabbed in a past life in the stomach
that person then comes back with a birthmark in the shape of the wound on the stomach. It may be
wine colored and located in the exact spot as the stab wound. Weird, right?
Are all birthmarks signs of past life? Some people say no that there is a logical, rational scientific
explanation for the birthmark. That birthmarks are genetic and indicate a health condition. Some say
that birthmarks are just that marks that we receive at birth from being removed from the birth canal.
How would I receive a mark on my left backside hip at birth? Was I beat? Hence why all birthmarks
cannot be explained rationally or scientifically. These answers may lie within our souls.
A documented case of birthmarks and past life correspondence lies with author Jeffery Keene. He
details his recollection of being Civil War General John B. Gordon in a past life. Keene has birthmarks
on his body that match the places where the General was fatally wounded in the war. For example,
Keene has a star-shaped birthmark on his head that matches the star-shaped scar that Gordon got in the
war. General Gordon was also shot in the cheek and Keene has a birthmark in the exact spot that
Gordon was shot. You can check out the photos I have provided as proof of the two mens scars and
So you have a birthmark, but you are not having dreams of a past life. Thats okay, I will tell you
what your birthmark means. Or you can go on thinking you received the mark as you were leaving the
birth canal.
Birthmarks Meaning
If you have a birthmark on your stomach it means that you may be a greedy, selfish person. When
men have a birthmark near their mouth it means they are wealthy and happy. When a woman has a
birthmark near her mouth it means that she is sensitive and talkative. If a man has a birthmark on his
right cheek it means he is passionate. If a woman has a birthmark on her right cheek it means she has
happy healthy relationships. If a man has a birthmark on his left cheek it means he has financial
difficulties. If a woman has a birthmark on her right cheek it means she has hidden depressions. If a
person has a birthmark under his or her left breast it means that he or she has success in everything and
has a good sense of humor. If a person has a birthmark under his or her right breast he or she will
always have good fortune.
When one has a birthmark in the center of his or her chest it means that he or she will have bad
luck and misfortune. When a man has a birthmark on his chin it means he is hot tempered. When a
woman has a birthmark on her chin it means she is the main source of income in the household. I one
has a birthmark on the left side of his or her forehead it means that he or she has significant mental
power. When one has a birthmark on the right side of his or her head it means that he or she spend
money frivolously. If one has a birthmark on his or her nose it means that he or she is a creative thinker
and has unpredictable traits. It is said that if one has a birthmark in the center of his or her forehead that
he or she is attractive and has many love affairs.

When a man has a birthmark on his arms it means that he is home oriented, takes care of the kids
and the house. If a woman has a birthmark on her arms it means she is independent and career minded.
When one has a birthmark on his or her thighs it means that he or she has luck, wealth, and happiness.
If one has a birthmark on his or her jawline it means that he or she is in bad health and practices a bad
lifestyle. When one has a birthmark on his or her back it means that he or she is open, honest, and open
minded. If a person has a birthmark on his or her fingers on the right or left hand it means that he or she
does not like to depend on anyone for anything. When you have a birthmark on your toes or feet it
means that you action oriented and love to travel. If you have a birthmark on your left shoulder it
means you are in a financial crisis. If you have a birthmark on your right shoulder it means you have
good fortune. If you have a birthmark on your legs it means that you are indecisive.
References: Baptiste, D. (2013). BoldSky. What Does Your Birthmark Mean? Retrieved from:
Frazier, K. (2016). LovetoKnow. Psychic Birthmarks. Retrieved from:

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art
and science. Albert Einstein.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have found the power of the mind fascinating. I would spend
hours reading up on as much parapsychological and paranormal phenomena that I could get
my hands on. I recall even making myself a set of Zener cards in the hopes of proving I had
extrasensory perception (ESP), or devoutly writing down my dreams in the hopes of providing
evidence of precognition. Yet, on the rare occasion I appeared to have a positive outcome I
would instantly question it was it a coincidence? Was I only seeing what I wanted to see?
Was there another explanation? I would then find myself disappointed when I was unable to
immediately reproduce the same outcome. This is the dilemma that is parapsychological
research. Despite this, my fascination has always persisted and I went on to obtain a
bachelors degree in psychology at university. These years of study fuelled my obsession with
the human brain and all its capabilities, and despite obtaining a strong knowledge and
appreciation of the scientific method, I found myself asking, If we are capable of so much,
whos to say we arent capable of more?
So what is parapsychology, and what is it that fascinates us so?
Parapsychology, also sometimes referred to as pseudoscience or fringe science (though
this can be hotly contested within the field itself) is the scientific and scholarly study of
phenomena which appear to occur beyond the realms of human capabilities. Parapsychology
is often mistaken to be the study of the paranormal, when in fact not all parapsychological
phenomenon is proven to be paranormal in nature (e.g., ESP). In turn, not all paranormal
phenomenon is parapsychological in nature (e.g., Big Foot.) Some of the primary areas
investigated by researchers include: telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis,
near-death experiences (including out-of-body experiences and the survival of self), direct
mental interactions with living systems (DMILS), reincarnation and apparitional experiences.
While man has always had a fascination with the unknown, it wasnt until the 19 th century
that we saw parapsychological phenomenon investigated in a scientific and systematic way.
This led to the formation of the Society for Psychical Research in London in 1882, which was
founded by Henry Sidgwick, a philosophy professor at Cambridge, and his associates,
Frederic Myers and Edmund Gurney. Soon after, largely due to the support of psychologist
William James, the American Society for Psychical Research was founded in Boston in 1885,
before later relocating to New York. The continuing fascination with parapsychological
research saw the further formation of societies dedicated to the science, such as the Rhine
Research Centre at Duke University in 1927, the Parapsychology Foundation, which was
founded by medium Eileen J. Garrett in New York, 1951, the Parapsychological Association
which opened in North Carolina in 1957, and The Australian Institute of Parapsychological
Research in Sydney, in 1977.

Upon hearing the term, parapsychological research more often than not, we think of
experimentation and secret government projects. This isnt too far from the truth. There are a
number of famous (and infamous) cases throughout the history of the field with two of the
most common being Project Stargate and the Ganzfeld Experiments. Project Stargate was
created by the CIA in the late 50s for the purpose of investigating behavioural engineering,
especially the area of remote viewing (RV), which is the use of primarily ESP to obtain
information about a distant or unseen target. The project consisted of a number of
experiments until it was terminated in 1995. The Ganzfeld Experiments began in the early
1970s led by researcher Charles Houton. The theory behind the experiments was that
parapsychological and/or psychic abilities could be induced in a subject that had achieved a
state of sensory deprivation.
As a general rule, the field of parapsychology is viewed by the scientific community as
being pseudoscientific due to its inability to produce consistent and repeatable findings. Given
the very nature of the phenomenon investigated by parapsychology, it is difficult to account for
all the variables, and therefore conform all experiments strictly to the scientific method.
Yet despite the fact there has been very little progress with the advancement of
parapsychology as a whole, there still remains a deep-seated fascination with it, and the
desire to continue to pursue the research in the hopes that one day, we will have substantial,
scientific evidence to support the existence of parapsychological phenomenon.
When the opportunity arose for me to write a column dedicated to this field I jumped at the
chance. I look forward to bringing you articles covering a wide range of both
parapsychological and paranormal phenomenon, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much
I will enjoy writing about them.
Irwin, Harvey J & Watt, Caroline A, 5th ed . (2007). An Introduction to Parapsychology
[Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com
History of the Parapsychological Association (2010, August 25) Retrieved from
Our History (1999-2015) Retrieved from
About The Society (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.aspr.com/who.htm
Weaver, S. (2009) History of the Society for Psychical Research. Retrieved from
Australian Institute of Parapsychological Research (2002) Retrieved from
Varvoglis, M. (n.d) PSI Explorer. Retrieved from
Military Use of Remote Viewing and the CIA FOIA Documents (n.d.) Retrieved from

Mr. Monster and the Mystery Connection

by Tony Stark
There's an order to things, never forget that.
I looked over my coffee mug at my partner, who was pointing a fork covered in egg yolk at me.
The high, stuffy humidity hanging in the air made the yolk scum over even as it threatened to
drop on the tablecloth between us.
Mm-hmm, I agreed noncomittally. This outburst, while not unusual for Piro, had emerged
unbidden from the depths of his mind. I couldn't help but cringe at where this was going.
It was high noon in New York City, high summer, but almost at the end of the decade. 1977
looked pretty much like the rest of the seventies, except with a preponderance of shabby pimps
and street girls along with drugged out yippies crawling around on the streets outside this Hell's
Kitchen cafe. I had been eating breakfast here since I was a beat cop back in the day, and a
few scumbagsweren't going to sour me on it now.
Much like whatever storm of philosophy was about to enevelop me, the pimps and the chuds
too would pass.
Piro Scarlotti was a police detective, like me, with several years' experience on the streets. Also
like me. This assignment in Manhattan was a pretty big boost to his life as well as his career,
him being from a poor tenement in Brooklyn, born in just before the war began in '39. In this
way, he was unlike me.
He also deviated in his propensities toward poorly thought out, loudly delivered epigrams on life
and the nature of the human spirit. I had learned to endure them in my two years' partnership
with the man, but I had not yet learned to let them stop irritating me. The only good thing about
Piro's prostelyzations was that he often had an almost oracular prescience about them that I
found useful.
I had other things on my mind this morning, however. Wife problems. Mistress problems. Her
Lover problems. I was also still stinging on the back of my skull where said wife, Barbara, had
thrown a well-aimed plate at the back of my head on the way out the door this morning. Things
were escalating, getting out of hand. She had balled our eldest daughter's gymnastics instructor
after Cynthia's all Manhattan meet, or recital... whatever those exhibitions were called. Now the
guy, understandably unimpressed by my wife's outstanding blend of insecurity and bossiness,
had cut Cynthia from the group of spindly kids that were supposed to travel along the Eastern
Seaboard, competing for something or other. Cynthia was crying about it this morning; she had
to go into ballet instead. Which was unfortunate, because she really wasn't a dancer by nature.

I may have said something to that effect this morning before I left the apartment, without thinking
how it would be received by the girl or her mother and her delusions of greatness she held for
her eldest spawn.
I barely paid attention to Cynthia. Just like I barely paid attention to Piro- except now he was
saying something about Barbara.
Tuning in, I heard him finish. - and that's why she's outta line, Lenny. There's an order to things
in this world, and you're not enforcing it.
I wondered how much he knew, exactly. He was oddly psychic; he also had a cousin who
worked at the market uptown where we Briscoes all bought our coffee and cigarettes. She could
have gossipped with him about Barbara's open air screaming matches, her tendency to go to
the market and the cafe down the street with boy du jour on her arm, my tendency to stop in
there too late to have come back from work with lipstick that definitely didn't come from work on
my collar.
Fair enough, I nodded. In what way is Barbara falling outside the order of things, that I need
to enforce said order back upon her?
Piro mopped up the rest of his egg with some toasted wonder bread. He leaned forward over
the table, his napkin bibbing his tie and keeping it from falling into his plate. Conspiratorially, he
There's this whole other world, see? This world of the unseen, right?
Despite myself, my eyes widened slightly. I tried not to let them sparkle. 'Kay, I agreed,
wondering where this was going. He was right, of course- but humans often spoke in ways that
seemed much deeper than they actually turned out to be. Yet Piro was one of those odd
humans who popped off with actual messages from the great Mysteryverse, the connection to
which I was still struggling to control. If nothing else, Piro's words told me that, in a rather
characteristic fashion, I was being lazy, letting too much of the responsibilities I held there fall by
the wayside. Not the least of which, I already knew, were those involving the control and care of
Well, Piro continued in low tones, this whole other world, it controls what goes on right here,
he poked the red and white checks of the tablecloth with a finger. There are vast, cosmic
forces that say whether we live, or die. Or succeed, or fail.
I nodded, letting him run with this. We both paused as the waitress came and warmed up our
cups of coffee.
My grandmama, she told me, Lenny- there's this Lord of the Other World, he's got command
over all this place... all of New York. All of what New York means, in the world. He's got
command over lotsa places in this world, she says- like Florence, in Italy. Like London, like little
spots in the middle of nowhere. She told me, she did, that all these places are part of his

kingdom. It all connects up, you see.

In an order, of course, I offered.
Piro beamed at me. Exactly! he exclaimed, attracting the attention of some fellow patrons.
Once they had turned back to their meals, he carried on.
He's this king, there's no real title for him in English. Autumnomonarcha, the King of Fall, but
not just a king, and not just of a season. More like the essence of that death and rebirth
promised in fall, she told me. And more like a Monarch than a King, if you get my drift... how
those are different.
A king rules a place, I suggested. But a Monarch is more like an Emperor,
-but not an Emperor- Piro interjected.
I nodded. Yeah, not an Emperor, though, because Emperors are about control. A Monarch is
like a Pharoah, or a god who rules, stuff. I getcha.
Piro grinned at me, pleased. Exactly.
So this other world, it pops up in places all over the planet, and this king guy, he rules over all
of it from these places. He makes sure that the order of things, not just good over evil, but the
balance between them, and the balance between rich and poor, right and wrong, day and night,
up and down, even- that all those are in order.
What happens if he doesn't do his job? I asked. This had been a source of apprehension for
me for a while, and I liked to ask anyone who seemed to know anything at all about the job what
they thought the consequences of inaction would be.
Piro's eyes got wide. He waited while the waitress took his plate. Behind him, outside on the
sidewalk, some junkie started to stagger down the far sidewalk. My eye was drawn to him, for
even amongst the hippies and the bohemians, this guy looked wrong. Much like Piro's basic
description of balance, this junkie was on the far side of this Far Out side that had settled on
Hell's Kitchen like leaves in a gutter.
Baaad, bad stuff, Lenny, Piro advised me. This order's got to be kept. The Monarch, he's got
command over all these other great forces from this Other World. Huge, big forces, gods or
somethin', if you believe in that. He's got to keep things more or less on an even keel, or else
chaos starts to spin out of these forces and out into the world. There's been signs, man, signs
that the Autumno Monarcha, he's not keeping things in order. There's got to be an order to
things, Lenny- otherwise... chaos.
I could see that, I agreed emphatically. So how does this relate to Barbara, exactly? That
was a question I really wanted answered. I knew I was entangled with her for a reason, that she
had some kind of connection to these great Mysteries with which I was wrestling. But she

seemed so banal. So disappointing. Every time I tried to break on through to the other side, as it
were, with Barbara, she swan-dived into the mediocre world of kids' classes, our youngest
daughter's rebellious behaviour, and plate throwing. I knew she was connected to all this
somehow, I could feel it rippling under her skin like bubbles blown in crude oil, but trying to
discuss matters with her it seemed I could speak more plainly about with some kid from
Brooklyn. So maybe he could tell me how to get a grip on my wife. Piro certainly seemed to think
that it was necessary.
My eye was drawn to that junkie. He was rifling through a wastebasket by a crosswalk. He
turned around in a little circle and revealed a decal that had been ironed to the back of his army
coat. A yellow happy face grinned at me from across the street. My eyes narrowed.
When the order of these great forces is left to itself, they all get outta control, Piro explained.
Uppity, I guess. And when they start thinking there's no king on the throne in these powerful
places, the forces get wild.
So you think Barbara is getting uppity with me because this Autumn Monarch fella is not
keeping the cosmic wossname in line, I offered, rising from my chair. I felt compelled to run out
of the cafe toward the junkie and stop whatever it was that was coming next. Running was
never something I liked to do, not just because on such a hot and muggy day it would make me
sweat like a pig. It seemed when I ran that it seemed to shake calamity loose with every step.
Maybe those mysterious forces Piro spoke of thought running was a sign the Monarch had lost
control. Maybe he had, when he had to run somewhere to stop something.
That's definitely what's happening with your marriage, Lenny, Piro nodded, his eyes following
me as I first rose and then walked past him. He followed, tossing his napkin back on the table.
He was a good partner, never asked any questions when I got into one of my moods and went
off on a hunch. Just followed. I guess that was the oracle in him.
I waved absently at the cook as I left; he knew I was good for the bill. Outside, the heat from the
asphalt hit us like a hypoxic wave. Piro loosened his tie further as he looked around on the street
to see what had caught my attention. He followed my gaze and found the junkie.
He don't look good, Piro commented as we walked to the crosswalk. You recognize him from
a sheet?
I shook my head. Maybe, I lied. I had never seen his scabby face before, but I recognized the
feel on him. He was a little particle that had spun off of this out of control energy Piro was telling
me about; had spun loose and was looking to kick the shit for forces that the Autumn Monarch
should have been bringing to heel.
The trouble was, it just took so much effort to do it. An Herculean effort to rise up and set myself
on the throne of which Piro spoke, this center of all the dark energetic universe. Like crawling
through warm asphalt to get anything done.
The streetlight changed and we started to cross. It might have been my imagination, or it might

have been the heat of the day, but it seemed my footsteps sunk into the pavement as we
walked. The four lanes of traffic seemed impossibly long; we walked under the thankless sun for
what seemed an age.
The junkie was twitching around all this time. Piro and I watched him root again idly in the trash,
not finding whatever it was he was seaching for. He scanned up the street and I watched him
lock onto a girl in a pale pink sundress who was walking toward him. She embodied everything
about a summer heatwave that was good, her feathered hair looking breezy and fresh despite
the stifling humidity. Her macrame purse swung at her side.
I think that's Mac the Knife, Piro whispered to me.
It is today, anyway, I replied. There had been some chud who had been stabbing people in
broad daylight in Hell's Kitchen and down in the Bowery, ever since the heatwave began. He
was so quick and so fast in his getaway that witnesses only had the vaguest of impressions of
him. He was a forgettable sort of scumbag, notable only in that he picked pretty little things and
either slashed their faces or stabbed them in the guts. The papers had bestowed the dubious
title on him and it had stuck around the station. This had been going on since May.
Since the week before Cynthia's gym recital thingy. Or whatever they called it.
The knife attacks had taken a backpage, literally and figuratively, to the colossal failure of we
NYPD in locating and stopping this Son of Sam gunshot killer that had everybody in the city in a
heatwave-exacerbated panic. But for us cops in Hell's Kitchen, the disfigurement of so many
vibrant young women seemed somehow more immediate and more within our scope to catch.
I rolled my eyes, the weight of all the pretty lives ruined settling in on my shoulders. As I
watched the junkie glance at the girl, look back down the street, cock his head to the side like
he was listening to something, it occurred to me that I personally had more than just one stabhappy junkie to clean up in this city... and there were more lives ruined by a .44 calibre bulldog
settling at the base of my spine, weighing down my steps with peculiar, inertial chaos.
One thing at a time. Junkie first. Barbara second.
We had reached the midpoint of the street and were closing in on the junkie. I allowed myself a
moment of personal pleading with the universe, more of a temper tantrum than a plea, really.
But, how exactly was I supposed to bring someone like Barbara to heel- it seemed impossible,
even if things like this tragedy unfolding in front of us would continue.
Holy shit, Lenny, are we gonna catch him?
I'd worry about Barbara later, and any more shootings after that. Time to mop up some damage
that was spinning out right in front of me first.
The junkie started moving toward the girl. We still had a lane of traffic to cross and he was
moving fast, too fast. There was something fell about his movements and chaotic about his

I cursed under my breath and broke into a run. We're gonna try, I said. My shoes stuck like the
street was made of epoxy. Every step was like one taken in a nightmare.
The concrete was a little better to run on, but even so the junkie was fast. Piro broke away and
dodged a taxicab coming up to the crosswalk so he could try to intercept the girl. Some few
pedestrians had noticed two suited men running, but most everyone on the crowded street was
continuing about their business in their same, self-centered way.
I was not catching the junkie. Piro was still too far from the girl. I would have to exert my will in
this matter if I wanted to be anything more than a spectator to another gruesome attack in New
York City.
I reached out with my mind, knowing that the patch on the right shoulder of the junkie's army
jacket was there just for this purpose- to deflect anything that tried to stop him. It left me little
else to go for than his heart, which I grabbed with all my might.
The junkie skidded on the hot sidewalk and tripped over his feet. He took a lurching step to the
With a mighty effort of my will, I made the distance between us smaller than it appeared. I
closed in with three footfalls, an astounding amount of intertia behind me. I used it to slam the
kid into the brownstone he was already headed into. We slammed into the brick wall as though
we had been flung from a moving train. The wind was knocked out of me. A switchblade was
knocked out of his hand and skittered to a stop at the feet of the girl in the pink sundress for
whom it was destined.
Piro was on the girl and grabbed her by the shoulders, picking her up out of the line of the knife
and setting her down with him between her and the blade. She looked confused and started to
object... then she realized what had landed on the ground.
I ain't done nothin, man! screeched the junkie, his nose bleeding from the wall.
You are under arrest for the aggravated assault of Catherine Hutton and Margorie Crew, I
barked at him, reaching for my handcuffs. You have the right to remain silent-
In the background, I heard the girl ask, Was he the man with the knife, cutting all those girls?
Piro was soothing her, telling her it was all right, she was safe. He flagged down a passing
squad car, who turned on its lights and parked across the lane of traffic we had just crossed.
Cars honked as they pulled out around our little scene.
In the middle of the rising noise and commotion, the junkie turned to look at me over his happy
face shoulder. His face was bloody and it had settled around his teeth in grotesque lines of red.
Mr. Monster couldn't make his count, he told me confidentially, so Harvey had me fill in for

My bile rose in my throat. So this little fellow was connected to the shootings. Somehow. This
little prick knew things nobody but the cops would know, about those letters, about the early
crimes we suspected were committed by the same man. At the same time that this creep sent a
shiver of revulsion down my spine, I knew he wasn't the man behind the bulldog shootings. This
paper thin scumbag I was strongarming into a squadcar was an emissary. He was right- he was
filling in the gaps for the chaos that wanted to come out. Things were still too ordered, there
weren't enough of their Agents to make a truly massive assault on the order of the city.
I finished Mirandizing him and slammed the door of the car. He was still looking up at me and
grinning hideously. The uniform who had been driving the car pounded on the glass of the
window until the occupant of the car and the handcuffs looked away.
I shook my hands off as though they had slime on them. I glanced at the uniform.
Start taking statements from these people, I advised. We want as many eyewitnesses as
I saw he had his knife out, an older man in a suit raised his hand. He had been walking just
behind the girl when I slammed into the junkie. He was going straight for that young lady,
I sent the uniform in the direction of the witness and closed my eyes. The world was stretched
thin around me after my exertion to close the distance between me and my target. Everything
seemed a little funhouse mirrored and tilty. I felt at once too large for the scene and not quite
inside it, like I was popping out of clothes I had never taken off the hanger.
This was one of the problems I was facing in dealing with the responsibilities of maintaining the
Order of Things- coming back down.
It was time for the regular rhythms of police work to take over. I took a deep breath and
straightened my tie before I started taking statements. I opened my notepad and looked for a
clean page. It was then I was partially blinded by a flashbulb.
Mac the Knife Stopped in Hell's Kitchen, Son of Sam Still at Large.
This was the headline that greeted me on the kitchen table when I came in that night. There was
I, looking down at my notepad, somewhat ruffled but otherwise looking like any run of the mill
police detective, on the front page. The photo had been taken with the roof of the squad car in
the foreground. Perhaps the flash had obscured the suspect inside too much to be used, for the
photo was definitely blown up and cut to focus on me, Piro and the uniform taking statements.
Unsurprising that the Agent of Chaos junkie had weaseled away from being marked even as he
was being detained.
Barbara nudged the paper toward me with one manicured finger. She looked at me with her
cold, unreadable black eyes.

I see you were out saving the city again today.

She managed to make that sound like I had failed her in some way. I sighed and stalked past
her to the icebox. I needed ice.
Yup, I replied, cracking some cubes from the tray into a highball. They started to melt almost
immediately. Even with the air conditioner her wealthy parents had bought us, the air in the
apartment was stifling. Or perhaps that was just Barbara's way. It's all in a day's work.
Barbara made a production of raising her reading glasses to her nose from where they hung
around her neck. She turned the paper to face her and read the byline, enunciating in that
excruciating way she had:
'Detective Leonard Briscoe of the 27th Precinct detained a suspect, narrowly averting yet
another knife attack in Hell's Kitchen. Detective Piro Scarlatti and Officer McMurty take witness
statements at the corner of 33rd and Eighth Avenue.'
She looked at me appraisingly over the rims of her glasses. And just who, exactly, did you have
to lean on in order to get the front page treatment? Her eyebrows continued to climb up her
powdered forehead toward the swath of dyed red hair pulled into a loose bun. Hm?
I splashed some of the bourbon I was pouring on the counter. Why does it matter? They were
taking all kinds of pictures, Barbara- I guess the Daily News just picked that one.
I'm just curious, she said with mock tones of idleness dripping in her voice. I took a long drink
of the amber liquid and watched her from across the room. I eyed up all the things near her in
throwing distance. It seems like they're certainly making a big production of you sweeping in
and saving the day.
I just got lucky, I shrugged, narrowing my eyes. It was hard to tell what bee had got inside
Barbara's sizeable bonnet. Was she jealous of my work success today? Did she think I was
fucking, or had since fucked, the young girl in the picture, and that was why I was so keen to
stop the attacker? Or was it something else- I could rarely tell.
I don't think luck had anything to do with it, she chirped cuttingly. I think you damn well meant
to stop that man today, and you made sure you got what you wanted- didn't you, Leonard?
I stared at her a long moment, making a stunning realization. Barbara knew what I had done
today- she knew I had exerted my Influence. Barbara knew I had sat on the Throne today, even
for a moment, to alter the course of events. Two conclusions spun out of this insight.
One was that she knew more about me and what I was meant to Be than she had ever let on.
The other was that she was angry I had reached out and stopped that little Agent of Chaos.
The words were out of my mouth before I even really knew I had said them. It was the Big Me

talking again, that Big Me that stretched that streetcorner out of shape. The one Piro was talking
about this afternoon at the cafe.
Sorry to have ruined your fun, Barbara, I heard myself say. Then I grinned at her. All hell broke
loose at that point.
Barbara rolled in her chair as though I had struck her. I could tell she felt the cord of her energy
being snapped as I spoke, cutting the power she was gleaning from all the violence, fear and
chaos caused by at least these latest stabbings, if not this entire anti-young love shooting spree.
She started to roar in anger, rising up out of her seat at the kitchen table like a harpy on the
wing. But she was drowned out by a gigantic peal of thunder that hit almost at the same time as
the flash of lightning lit us where we stood in the room.
The lightning strike must have been right on top of us from how the thunder echoed over the
surrounding buildings. In the blue white light, Barbara looked like what she was- a wizened,
dead-skinned goddess of the charnel pits that lay on the far side of hell. Her black eyes had
swallowed their sockets. Her mouth, so carefully picked out in her perfectly applied lipstick, was
a red-rimmed, screaming maw. It was moving with an unholy quickness as she cursed epithets
at me that I could not hear over the thunder.
Now, there's the girl I married, I smiled at her, the first to make themselves heard over the
fading thunder.
She leapt toward me with her claws out, making that screech she made when her epithets failed
her. I had obviously done some good work today in cutting off the energy to those dark forces
that lived in the realms of Mystery; Barbara was certainly hurting for the lack of energetic
I tossed Barbara lightly aside, deflecting her into the pantry where she harmlessly bounced off
the wall. Before she could either open the pantry to find projectiles to throw at me or regroup for
a second attack, a small pair of barefooted girls appeared in the hallway.
Daddy? the girls asked, terrified. We're scared of the thunder, Daddy, my youngest,
Jennifer, explained. Even though she was the baby, her older sister Cynthia was clutching her
for safety. Jenny was always the strong one, since the day she was born Cynthia had been
leaning on her for support. Cynthia was just now starting to really resent the fact she clung to
her younger sister, but tonight, between the screeching and the lightning storm the heat had
brought on, Cynthia seemed to think it was still in her best interests to lean.
I cast a warning glance at Barbara to not engage as I went to tend the children. My wife seemed
somewhat stunned by the lightning's release of energy and nodded almost imperceptibly. She
used the closet door to steady herself as she stood on wavering legs. Hoping I wouldn't catch a
tin of beans to the back of the head, I turned to the girls with my arms open.
It's ok, babies, it's just a thunder storm from the heat of the day. The girls molded themselves
to my torso. It would be hard to extricate myself from them in their terror. As if to emphasise that
fact, the lightning struck twice more across the city, once in Harlem, once further north- the

Bronx, I think it must have been.

There was a beat as the thunder started to roll out with cracks and booms, then there was a
brilliant flashing glow that emanated from up where that latest strike had been.
Barbara started, backed away from the light as though it had pulled a gun on her.
What- what was that, Leonard? she asked. We all of us glanced up at the ceiling as the
overhead lights dimmed. Once, twice, then a long brown light emanated from the lamp set into
the plaster.
Daaaddyy... Cynthia wailed and buried herself in my shirt. I felt badly for her but at the same
time her constant, panicky keening neediness made me want to just fling her from me the same
way I had deflected Barbara a moment ago. I fought the urge and instead set the pre-teen into
one of the kitchen chairs, deliberately peeling her off of me. Jennifer I left hugging my leg. She
had planted her feet on my oxford shoe and used her toes to cling to my laces. She wasn't going
Must have been a transformer, I said, brow furrowed. Things were certainly spinning out of
control. Barbara came up to me gingerly, like a beaten dog approaches its master. I wanted to
fling that away from me, too, especially considering she was the one who usually bruised me
with her variety of projectiles and claws.
The lights will stay on here, though- won't they? Barbara asked me, her black eyes back to
normal proportions, but still possessed of that inky, foul gleaming they had when I realized what
she really thought of the collar I made today.
I don't know, Barbara, I told her, sounding more cooly remote than I meant to. The power grid
is separate for the Bronx, but it's all connected, you know. This was all sounding way, way
more intense than I meant it to. I meant to sound like Leave It to Beaver. Instead, I was coming
off like Lovecraft. Barbara quailed and gingerly clasped her hands gently around my bicep as
though in the midst of a plea for mercy.
It's all connected, I repeated, looking away from her and out over the city, trying to guess what
might happen next. What happens in somewhere affects it here. You know that.
I winced, surprised at the Big words that just kept coming out of my mouth; I was expecting
another rage, this time with the kids in the room. Those were never fun, having to try to protect
the children from their mother's wrath, and aim, even as we were fighting our adult arguments.
When nothing ensued, I hazarded a look back at Barbara. She was still nodding, looking out
over the city toward the direction of the flashing glow. Her eyes were wide with terror. I watched
her watch the lightning as it picked its way through the cityscape and a thought occurred to me.
If there was ever a time to bring my wife to heel, it would be during a blackout.
Moving with a stealth that belied my shaking limbs, I scooped up Cynthia and held out my hand

to Jennifer. Silently, we snuck past Barbara where she was still staring in horror out at the city.
The nest of glowing streetlights was flickering in patches, almost as though bits of the urban
landscape were winking into and out of existence. Watching the grid struggle to stay intact was
almost hypnotising, but only one of us could be taken in by it tonight. I turned away from the
vista and snuck the children off to bed.
I put them both in Jennifer's room; it was the furthest from the others. Both of the girls could
nestle in the big girl bed for the night. I tucked them in tightly and patted Jennifer on the head.
You keep your sister safe tonight, I told her. Keep her in here with you, and don't come out
until I come to get you.
Jenny nodded, her eyes large but her young face set in resolve. Cynthia was still whimpering
but had hidden her face under the covers. As an afterthought, I turned the blinds so the
flickering lights of the city were no longer visible. I grabbed a candle from the bathroom and lit it
with the lighter in my pocket, setting it down on the dresser by the door- more as a ward against
their parents than to keep it from the children's grasp. Jennifer knew how to be good with
flames; all she needed was a significant look from me to know this was something she had to
guard closely.
You'll be fine in here, I promised them, then shut the door soundlessly. I walked back down
the hallway, half expecting to find that Barbara had turned into some kind of shambling monster
or betentacled creature while my attention was otherwise occupied. She was still standing and
looking out over the city.
What does it mean? she asked, aghast. She turned to look at me and I held back a wince, but
her face was her own, if she did look haggard and exhausted. I wondered as I looked at her how
much power she derived from the city, always running, always alight with activity and energy.
There was a vast swathe of the north that was darkened now and it seemed to tell on her face. It
was as though she had aged twenty years for the lack of urban safety net. It occurred to me that
the hundreds of rows of brownstones teeming with their families and their human lives was
some sort of insulation for Barbara, against something that was normally hidden from view by
the light and the noise. I could almost see what she was afraid of, out there in the dark; its
hunching shapes were nearly real in the pitch black the power outage had left behind.
Was this something I should be afraid of, too? Barbara was Older than me; she knew things
from the beginning, and I had been struggling to catch up throughout our marriage. I looked at
the darkness that kept drawing her huge, frightened eye. Whatever was out there, she was
afraid of it... she was also made guilty by it. The darkness didn't make me feel guilty, as I stared
out across the changed urban landscape. Whatever she was afraid of, it was not something I
had to worry about. Not in the same way she did.
It was therefore time to begin. With a motion as quick and devastating as the lightning strike, my
arm flashed out and I grabbed Barbara by her long, dyed red hair. I twisted a fist of it around my
wrist and dragged her backward, away from one dark vista and into another. As I did, there was
a pop from the top of the builiding and a stinging sensation of overload in my sinuses as the
power failed in the apartment.

You can read more in The Autumn Monarch by Tony Stark, coming in 2016
from StarkLight Press.

Never Enough
On the first day of school, Norma
Reese climbed over the rail fence
and trudged through the farmer's field
until she reached the magnificent
weeping willow tree. It was just within
sight of the road, an easy walk to find
sanctuary. She crawled under the
hanging leaves and branches. They
reached the ground and trailed along
it, so that she was completely hidden
from the outside world. This was her
sanctuary. She leaned against the
trunk and put her text books on the
soft earth beside her. She pulled the
dollar coin out of a pocket of her old
beat up jeans and stared at it. It had
taken a month to scrape together that
much. It wasn't enough. Her entire life she had never been enough not pretty enough,
popular enough, rich enough, strong enough, or loved enough.
Tears fell down her cheeks as she remembered going to the school's office to pick up a
combination lock so she could be assigned a locker. The secretary had looked at the Loonie
Lillian pushed across the counter like it might bite her.
Locks are $1.50 this year. Notices were sent out before the beginning of school. No lock, no
locker, she said with a sneer.
Norma had never given the woman a reason to dislike her, but it was obvious she did. It
probably had to do with her ratty second hand clothes that were none too clean, either. There
was never enough money for the laundromat. The best she could do was scrub them in the
tub with hand soap, the same with her hair. She probably looked like a homeless person. She
might as well be. She had no real home to go to. The place she lived was hardly what could
be considered a home.
Mildred Reese her mother, was not only a drunk, but a mean violent drunk as well. Every cent
that came in the place went to the beer store. It was a good thing that Welfare paid the rent
on their crappy one bedroom apartment, or the rent money would go to the beer store too.

It was cool and dim below the overhanging branches of the willow, but it was the only place
she felt completely safe. Safe from her mother's verbal and physical abuse, safe from the
taunts and insults of her school mates, safe from the hurt and shame of poverty and hunger.
Here under the willow she could study her text books and do equations in the soft earth. It
was September, so there wouldn't be snow for another two months. Until then she had a
place to do her homework in peace.
Norma had been doing her homework here since third grade. That year, she had brought
home books the school had given her, and Mildred had tried to hock them for booze money.
The books had the name of the school stamped on them, so the pawn shop owner wouldn't
take them. Mildred had come home and broken Norma's arm because her school books
weren't sell worthy, as if it were the eight year old girl's fault. After school, she put her books
in a plastic bag, and dug a hole under the thick root system of the willow, where they stayed
until she retrieved them the next day before school.
If it wasn't for the free breakfast program in elementary school, she would have starved.
When school ended for the summer after grade six, her mother had been fired from the last
job she would ever hold. She descended into the bottom of a bottle and never came out
again. The fact that she had a daughter meant little to her. Time and again the school nurse
tried to get Norma placed in a foster home, but Mildred would never sign a release, because
she needed the girl's Mother's allowance for beer. The authorities didn't believe she was in
enough danger to take her away from her mother without a signed release form,
She had gone to the food bank next, and they had finally given her a box of food, but when
she brought it home she got a beating for the shame of taking charity, as if living off of Welfare
wasn't charity. That didn't keep her mother from gobbling up all the food before they were
allowed another weekly box from the food bank. Lillian had taken to hiding dry goods in the
cupboard above the fridge. Her mother was never sober enough to stand on a chair to get it
down. If the food was easily accessible, Mildred would eat it, if it wasn't easy to get, then she
would drink instead. When she ate something she didn't get drunk as fast, and she would
leave Norma alone. The girl was forced to choose between starvation and her mother's
drunken abuse.
When the food ran out before she could get more from the food bank, she had to depend on
the stale bread that the baker from the bake shop nearby would give her. For that, she had to
hang around the back door when he came in at dawn. Before he gave her a loaf of two day
old bread, she had to endure him fondling her breasts. Two days earlier, she had gone to the
bake shop at dawn, and the baker was waiting for her. This time he wasn't holding the stale
bread as usual. When she saw his empty hands her shoulders slumped, and she turned to
walk away.
Wait. Your bread is inside, but you'll have to come here to get it, he called.
She came closer to the door cautiously. Without warning he jumped her and pushed her onto
some big garbage bags that had been placed side by side in the alley, almost like a bed. She
struggled, but he had her on her back and his pants down in two minutes flat. He must have
practiced. She screamed as loud as she could before he put his big hand over her mouth.
She bit him and he let her go, cursing loudly. Just then the baker's wife came out with a
broom and started hitting Norma with it as her husband slunk back into the bake shop.
You slut, get out of here. How dare you seduce my husband you little Skank. I'll have the
cops on you for prostitution! she yelled.

I'll go to the cops myself, you fat ugly slug. I'm a virgin, so you'll have a hard time proving
prostitution. I have your scum husband's slime on my jeans, plus the bruises on my arms to
prove sexual assault, and I'm only fourteen years old, who do you think they'll believe?
Norma shouted back.
The woman went back in the shop and started screaming at her husband. Norma turned to go
home. She would have gone to the police, but it was a five mile walk, and she was too weak
from hunger to make it that far. She had been depending on the bread to get her through to
the end of the week. She went home, hoping that there might be something in the back of the
cupboard over the fridge to eat. When she got there, the baker's car was parked in front of the
apartment building. When she walked in, she could hear Mildred and the baker trading
epithets at the door of her second floor apartment. Norma didn't know that the baker was their
landlord. From what she could hear, they were being evicted. Now she really was homeless.
She walked to her sanctuary tree to hide.
Norma sat under the willow tree weeping bitterly, when she heard voices just on the other
side of the hanging branches. She could recognize the raucous laughter of a few of the
school football jocks, and they had been drinking. She couldn't be caught here, she had to
keep it secret. It was the only place she had to hide from all the people who made her life
miserable, but now she had no place else to go. She quickly started climbing the branches,
not realizing that the branches moved as she climbed, and it could be seen on the other side.
Three boys ducked under the limbs, pushing each other and shouting. One carried a half
empty case of 24 beer.
Hey, we got a monkey in the tree. Look at the dirty little monkey, boys. Let's pull it down and
look at it.
The voice of Harlan Duncan was slurred, and very loud. Norma's heart raced rapidly with fear,
as she tried to climb higher. She could see one of the other two boys climbing up after her. It
was Graham Harris. The third boy, Larry Traverse, stood at the bottom of the trunk, egging
him on. The three boys were very popular, because they won football games for the school,
so they got away with the trouble they consistently got into. They were never charged with
underage drinking, bullying and assaulting younger boys, or the attempted rape of a couple of
the junior girls.
Even when the families of the two girls tried to get them arrested, nothing came of it. Graham
Harris's father was a cop, so the investigation was skewed toward blaming the two girls for
soliciting, and when the boys wouldn't pay, they cried rape. Of course it was all lies, but they
still got away with it.
Norma screamed as Graham grabbed her ankle and pulled. She hung onto the branch above
her as best she could, while she tried to kick him off. It didn't work. He climbed higher and hit
her knuckles, so that she was forced to let go. As she fell, the other two boys grabbed her and
threw her to the ground. She kicked and screamed until one of them bashed her head in with
a rock. She was only alive part of the time, as they took turns raping her. She died
somewhere in the middle of it all. Her spirit rose from the scene and watched in horror as the
boys went to Graham's truck and came back with a shovel. They buried her right there under
the willow tree.

Mildred had left town when she was evicted, so Norma wasn't reported missing. When she
didn't return to school, it was assumed that she had gone with her mother. No one even
looked for the poor dead, innocent girl who never deserved her rotten fate. Her spirit lingered
under the tree for a time, close to her body. Rage at the injustice of her life and death, built up
in her spirit as the willow's leaves turned yellow and fell upon Norma's shallow grave. Then
the snow came and buried the fallen leaves. The summer came and the beautiful willow's
drooping branches were covered in lush green leaves. Norma's spirit became full of hatred for
those who had left her body there under the tree, alone and forgotten.
She decided to seek revenge on those who had brought her to such a painful, lost and lonely
end. Her spirit hovered around the bake shop that had set events in motion that led to the
beginning of her end. She began to follow the baker in and out of the shop, slamming doors,
turning the bake ovens up too high so that the loaves of bread burnt up. She made her face
appear in the mirror surface of the stainless steel fridge. The terrified baker screamed and fell
against the gas stove, where the tea kettle whistled over an open flame. The kettle was
knocked over, and his sleeve caught fire in the flame of the burner. He ran to the sink to run
cold water over it. Meanwhile, Norma caused the oven mitts on the counter beside the stove
to catch fire. The oak cutting board beside the mitts caught fire next. In ten minutes, the entire
kitchen was on fire. The baker ran out the back door screaming. His wife barely had time to
vacate the apartment above the shop where they lived. Within fifteen minutes the bake shop
was engulfed in flames. Now they were homeless too.
When the new school year began, Norma's spirit stalked the three boys that had killed her.
Since her face appearing on a reflective surface had proved so effective with the baker, she
appeared in the bathroom mirrors of the boys. Then she got inside their gym bags and made
them hop around. She haunted them from Harlan's house, to Graham's house to Larry's
house, pulling off covers, screeching in their ears, throwing stuff around their rooms. They
were nervous wrecks. The three stars of the school football team started to make stupid
mistakes, that lost ball games. The team that couldn't lose last year, couldn't win this year.
Their popularity waned, as did their credibility. Nightmares plagued all three of them, waking
and sleeping. They could see her naked bleeding body at the bottom of school stairwells,
lurking in corners of their houses, and in their closets. They were eventually kicked out of
school for drinking on the school grounds. One spring day laced with freezing rain, the three
intoxicated boys careened off the icy road near the willow tree. It crashed into the tree where
they had killed and buried Norma. Her spirit watched with satisfaction. She could have easily
made the car burst into flames, because her spirit was strongest here, with her body. She
didn't, though. She decided they must live to pay for their sins.
The farmer that owned the field where the willow tree grew, saw the accident, and called for
help. When the boys were dug out of the vehicle, Norma's body was unearthed. Even though
she had spent over a year in the ground, the three boys' DNA was all over her clothing, and
what remained of her body.
The boys were given the death penalty, and were given the lethal injections that ended their
lives. All three of them were sixteen years old, but then Lillian had only been fourteen. When

the last boy was declared dead, Lillian's spirit dissipated into the ozone layer. She'd had