Princess Burning Hair

7 09 2006

Princess Burning Hair sat in a corner of the attic. Motes of sunshine had faded her red hair and moths had made holes in the fabric of her being. To add insult to injury successive generations of mice had gnawed away at the rubber bands that held her limbs together. Now she was an apology for what she had been.

Downstairs Mrs Jones, owner of the doll, huddled deeper into the bedclothes, her body felt numb. Yet again her husband had launched a stream of invective against her.

Why had she done this or that when she knew the consequences of her actions would be disastrous? The constant criticism nibbled away at her being, Chinese water torture eroding the sharp edges of her consciousness into a soft, shapeless blur. The bamboo spikes of his barbed comments lodging in her ears and working into her brain. Months would go by without, and then suddenly, out of the blue, something would happen to disturb the equilibrium. The strings of her heart were unravelling a little more each day.

Her life underwent the same decline and degradation as the doll with no witness except for the reflections in the numerous mirrors hung on the walls. Why were there so many mirrors, she wondered. She never looked at herself and her husband paid little apparent attention to his appearance – he had no need to for he was always immaculately turned out.

Outside the home she had no life for she never went anywhere. Once her husband had brought a woman home, introducing her as a work colleague and green shards of jealousy stabbed at her already fragile self-confidence for the woman was attractive and self-assured. Not unlike how she had been, once upon a time.

When had this slow decline started and what had prompted it? Not given to in-depth self analysis she was hard put to identify the when and the why. Was it the day he had taken her pet away? The one being with whom she felt a special communion. Her last lifeline was gone, even if it wasn’t human. She had no close family, no close friends in whom to confide – what – anyway?

How could she describe the internal void, the lack of purpose to her life? Although they had not had children, she had gone out to work – not that she needed to but it gave her a reason to get up in the morning. Apart from feeding her husband breakfast, that is.

In the beginning her days had been filled, she had gone out and met friends, visited museums, art galleries but now she found she preferred her own company. She lost herself in travel books and composed endless mental journeys. Once she had even lain out on the bed all the clothes and things she would take on an imaginary trip to Zanzibar – the spice island of her dreams.

Her salvation had come the day she discovered the reference room at the local library – where they had computers. Hitherto an undiscovered world, she joined a class of computer illiterates and the world was never the same place again. She made new friends and discovered new places. But she said nothing of this at home. Her husband never noticed the tiny changes taking place on an almost daily basis. He had grown careless. It never occurred to him that she actually examined the contents of his pockets, read all the mail that arrived and returned it quietly to the stack on his bureau. She painted her toenails red. Hidden inside her sensible shoes he never saw them but she knew they were there – a beacon in the night. She started to wear new underwear too, which he was too blind to see, having long since ceased to bed her. All of these miniature rebellions giving her pleasure and increased confidence.

One day he returned to an empty apartment. No furniture, no food in the kitchen – which had been fitted and therefore she hadn’t been able to take it away with her. Even his computer had gone. When he went into the bedroom there was a single sheet of paper on the floor, propped against an old doll wearing a torn lace dress, with lifeless glass eyes in a pale china face, but with the most astonishingly brilliant, burning, chestnut coloured hair.

“Thank you for the life you have not given me. You gave up on me when I couldn’t follow you. Now the tables have turned. Don’t look for me for you will never find me again although you may hear of me from time to time in the papers.” It was signed Princess Burning Hair

Attached to this note was a newspaper clipping. He picked it up and read …….

The House of Roses today confirmed reports that Prince Charming has a new girlfriend and below was a photograph…..





5 09 2006

By Anita Marie Moscoso


Inspired by  The Soul Food Cafe Prompt

Exploring Childhood Innocence 

Orcella Moss sat at his kitchen table with a small box of bones in front of him. Every once and awhile he’d reach out and jiggle the box around and then he’d look down into the top of it and sometimes he’d start to reach into it and then he’d stop.
Then he moved the box back to the center of the table and he wondered.
He wondered where his 13-year-old daughter could have found a human jawbone and other broken little pieces of bone and how it all ended up in an old fashion hatbox mixed up with the bits and pieces of her day-to-day life.
Orcella could hear her up in her room; a little while ago he had heard her TV go on, then he heard a beep and whine and then a hum as her computer came to life and he wondered how that little monster could do anything as normal as hit on and off switches when she’d been living in the same room with a busted human jaw bone, a mummified finger and little bits of bone in a hatbox she had left on her desk top.

Earlier that morning Orcella had gone up to Kirsten’s room to liberate the batteries from the remote control for the TV in the living room that somehow always found their way upstairs to Kirsten’s room and into her remote control.

That’s when he saw the old box with the faded candy pink stripes sitting on her desk and almost as an after thought looked down into it.
The box was right next to her California Cutie doll and her makeup (cotton candy flavored lipstick and some blush-on) and her hairbrush and a little bottle of perfume she’d mixed herself at Scent By You at the Mall.
And in the middle of all of that junk was the hatbox with the jawbone that was on the table in front of him now. He looked into the box one more time and that’s when he noticed the nail on the finger was manicured and polished and had a tiny rainbow decal near it’s tip.
 “ Kirsten,” he called up to her “ come on down here for a second, would you?”
He heard the sound go down on the TV and she called back, “ What?”
“ I want to talk to you.”
“ Busy.” She called back in her best little girl in the world voice.

Then not only did the TV go back on it went up.
“ Kirsten get down here.”
“ This better be important Dad,” she snapped back from over the racket “ cause I’m…”
“ Missing something from off your desk. So get down here NOW.”
The TV clicked off and the computer hummed and shut down. He could hear Kirsten walking across her bedroom floor. He heard the door open and then close and then the sound of her footsteps at the top of the stairs.

 “ This is very serious Dad.” He heard her walking down the steps “ You need to respect me and my privacy.”
She was standing in the kitchen now. Her mouth was a hard straight line and her chin was tilted up and she looked down her nose at him, “ That box is mine and what’s in it is mine and I want it back.”
“ I want to know where you found this Kirsten, for heaven’s sake Kid, this is a human jaw bone and what are these? “ he held the box up and shook it at her.
“ Finger bones, “ she held her hand up ‘ fingertip bones, I don’t know exactly but they’re mine Daddy and I want them back.”
“ Just answer me, where did you find this stuff?’ she was looking at him with a dull flat expression and he knew very well by the look on her face she hadn’t ‘found’ anything. Not in this condition anyway.

He tried another tact.
“ Kirsten these are human remains and you had them mixed in with your makeup, some CD’s and a half eaten candy bar and a stale bagel. Do you know how abnormal that is?”
It was very clear by the way she was still looking down her nose that she did know and that she also didn’t care.
“ Give me back my things Daddy.” She said in her best schoolmarm voice. “ Or else.”
“ Or what Kirsten? Am I going to end up in a box on your desk with candy bar wrappers and a half eaten bagel?”
“ No, but you know that thing you have hidden in the basement? If you want it back Daddy you’ll hand that box over right now.”
“ You didn’t…”
“ I mean it Daddy, hand the box over right now.”
He practically threw it at her and as she bent over to pick up some of the little bones that had fallen out she said, “ you’re gross Daddy “ she said with disgust “ I can’t believe you brought that into our house and hid it in a trunk with the Christmas ornaments. That’s twisted.”

She was looking into the box and then she looked around on the floor and came back up with the finger with the nail still attached and she dropped it into the box. “ You’re sick Daddy, you need help.”

Orcella watched Kirsten stomp up the stairs, he heard the door slam shut and the music go on full blast. It was loud;  loud enough to shake the pictures on the wall, loud enough to attract attention,  loud enough to maybe force  the neighbors to call the police and complain.

Orcella didn’t go up the stairs, he went back into his kitchen and down the steps to the basement…and then he started to clear the Christmas ornaments out of the trunk.


21 08 2006

The harder I struggle the more the ropes seem to tighten, and yet I have to. After what seems like hours the chafing on my wrists has delivered rivulets of scarlet blood which I can feel making their way down my hands to my fingertips where the warm thick liquid drips in heavy drops to the gnarled roots of this old tree.
images aletta mes 2006
I cannot clearly see what lies ahead of me, but I can sense that it is dark and consuming. I can smell the decaying underbrush which lightly fogs the paths around the trees now that the day is turning colder, it is a strangely comforting smell, the smell of life coming and going, just as it should, just as it always has. Just the same I have no desire to become part of this great compost heap, not at all. So I struggle again against the binding ropes. Why? Let’s just agree that for me this is also a natural state, I fight the inevitable, it is my way, it is who I am.

As awkward as it is to be tied up with my arms outstretched and bound around the tree’s broad trunk I do manage to find a degree of comfort now and again. There is the one position with my butt pressed against the trunk and the weight of my upper body pulled forward and my head dropped.. I can even nod off in this odd position. the other is pulling my entire body forward pressing my weight into the soles of my feet. Either way my wrists are taking most of the punishment.

I am thrilled that whatever lurks out there has chosen not to finish me off just yet. I sense at times that it, whatever “it” is has gone, there is a murky smell both disgusting and sweet that hangs around, when it come close enough I can also hear breathing. Slightly laboured breathing. What the creature is doing and what it’s intentions are I have no idea. I know that when I try to think about it a tear of panic pours down my face, I’ve bitten my lip raw concentrating on the struggle to break free. I’d have bitten through the ropes of my wrists if the position would have allowed it. I cannot bite anything, at least not anything useful.

Wrestling with wanting to scream, but if I do it might set off a series of events very much unwanted. Perhaps it would be best if I remain quiet, and perhaps he will forget, or escape and leave me, or even grow fond of me and let me live. So I don’t scream even when it’s smell disgusts me and feeling it’s breath on my skin raises goose bumps from head to foot, I gag very quietly, and in my mind it repeat, “please, please, leave”.

It was daylight still, when I found myself here, tied up, among these great old trees. I’ve no idea where I am, even less how I got here. Nothing I see or smell or hear is anything familiar. These are not even the bird sounds I am accustomed to. My last memory was of going to bed. I must not have actually got into bed, because I am still dressed in my jeans and a shirt, no shoes, but for me that is not unusual, I dislike footwear at home. I am disinclined to wearing even socks at home unless it is very cold. It was not cold that night. The night I last remember before waking here.

Nothing remarkable in my memories of that night. I did a little reading and washed out a few clothes which I hung to dry. I sat watching television with my favourite cat on my lap. That is my last memory, being home, with my cat.

I feel as though my arms have stretched beyond their ability and yet they do not come apart. It helps to envision my situation, a way to avoid the actual experience, which I assure you is painful, and terribly frightening.

I cringe because the ground shakes a little, and I assume the creature, whatever it is must be near. If I could just see the thing and make eye contact, then I could read if it is reasonable, and I could bargain for my life. If it is not reasonable, then, then…I could scream. I feel my hunger and wonder if I can hold the urine long enough that I will be found without added embarrassment. Does that make any sense? Why should I care that I pee my pants? Then again what if it makes the creature irate, or amorous? That’s typical of me, making jokes when there really is nothing funny. It made a few seconds more bearable.

I try to think of positive outcomes. The creature might die and leave me here untouched other than by insects crawling up my pants leg. In the dark shadows I swear I can see the reaper, calmly, patiently waiting. It makes me angry, terribly angry. The reaper could take me now, why does he just stand there? Perhaps he is not even there. Hours have passed and it would not be strange right now to be seeing things.

On inspecting my legs and what I can see of myself there has not been any damage done, no blood stains no torn clothing. small mercies. somehow it matter that I leave a fairly nice looking body behind. Thoughts right now just happen, pulled from the ether, mostly as amusements to pass time, and more time, and —please can something just happen? The boredom on it’s own is deadly. Unrelenting pain and boredom. I found myself thinking of all possible endings to this story of mine, unlikely rescues, or I might wake up, or be eaten alive by some creature. A werewolf maybe?

Again I chuckled. A Werewolf? Ha! No, my luck it is a mindless bumbling but hairy woodsman with a penchant for collecting city women with intent to have them trained as his housekeeper. OK, also bizarre and unlikely. somehow all of my endings were benign and I found some temporary solace there. It was very dark now and I could see nothing at all. Probably a starless sky tonight. The fog was creeping higher and higher. I was so cold that I stopped feeling pain.

The cold was killing me, one pain replaced by another. I could not even fight the ropes any more.. The presence of what I thought my be the reaper was now a comfort, and I made eye contact and was no longer afraid of the reaper. I was fighting for remaining awake. Obviously comfort was not a requirement for falling asleep, or out of consciousness. by now I was too tired to fight. Whatever the outcome of this life altering event would be, I would not know it. I took a last glance around. Just as my grip on this world was letting go I spotted an enormous claw, and without having a moment to react, or do a proper review of my life, I was gone.


21 08 2006

The past few weeks seem like a blur in someone else’s life. I am still living in the fog of disbelief. That at long last I am fully free, that I get. I feel it in every cell of my being. Very slowly I am beginning to discover who the me is that was so fully hidden under the fearful stillness that was me all those years.

The police and ambulance people were very nice. His bloated body was transported and it was almost as if the entire house sighed with relief. No one doubted how he had come to his end. He slipped was intoxicated and didn’t break his fall correctly. It would be my secret how I wanted something like that to happen. Not that I was a coward for not killing him in the stillness of some other night, but I valued more the life I might have after, free of him and not behind bars.

It did not disappoint this new life of mine. Yesterday I banked the insurance money and today I am flying to New York for a little shopping before going to Europe. Beyond that I have no plans. I am in my fifties, I have a good thirty years left to really live. This is why women live longer than men, to taste freedom, if in your life dutifully married you did not. He lived in anger and hate, he was cruel, obnoxious and at every turn unrepentant for it. I never understood what he was getting out of it, all that anger.

He could not have liked himself much either, he at himself into nearly 300 pounds anger with sky high cholesterol. He was fifty four when he died, and for all those years I was the lone party standing by his grave side. My last act as the dutiful wife. That I cam this close to doing him in I would take to my grave with me.

I now stood about to board and aircraft for the very first time. Life unfolded with possibility. In my suitcase there was only one change of clothes. In New York I would buy, for the fist time since my late teens, clothes I liked, shoes I liked, and wear them without looking behind me worried I might be caught displeasing his highness and paying for it with my battered body. If I had used up for this lifetime any and all divine intervention, I would say the gods were generous and their timing exquisite, I not only had life now, but also life in the hereafter which I very nearly sacrificed.

The Gathering of the Others

19 08 2006

Something happened to this little piece of prose betwixt Bath House Tales and here…

It became a poem!!  Go figure…

This is dedicated with love to all who yearn for a babe, and are blessed not:

We are gathered in our Place,

that sad and grey-steeped

Place in our Hearts.


where longing is shrivelled,

and become husklike,

hollow as a spider’s prey.

Voices with no body

echo here,

they call,

from dreams that

fade the colour

of our realities.


In this place,

we are drawn

in spare,

jagged shades

of charcoal,

ever wanting fullness.

Our voices hushed,

as the cry of

our spirits.

Eyes are lowered,

in respect of the


hungry light

we would see in

one another.


This is where

we seek comfort,

while mourning

our lost hopes.

This is the place

where we can cry

 to the Heavens,



with the Others,

whom we call

‘Our Sisters’,

we do not need

to dissemble

or perform.


This is the Place,

gifted to us by 


a place

no Mother knows of,

but for those

who lost their child.

Here we are


by hearts

that understand,

and grieve with us.

“Kiss an’ better?”

We are the Aunts,

the Step-Mothers,

the Woman who

never sought a mate.

We have gone

from Maiden to

Venerable Crone,

with no sojurn

as Mother.

All of us feel it, 

the ‘lack’,

the feeling

of not being

‘good enough’,

always wondering,

“Why not me?”.



 we join hands

with our Sisters,

and let down the

burden of awareness

for a time,

and rest.

“Night Mum.

I love you.”

Going, Going, Gone?

17 08 2006

My hands shook as I pulled the rat poison from underneath the sink. We lived out in the boonies and needed to discourage outside pests from moving wholly into the house, or just under it. I’d had the stuff in the kitchen years before thinking to use it for an alternate purpose. Alternate purpose, how clinical and cold I’d become toward him, his life and the taking of it. Actually come to think of it, not so alternate actually, to kill a pets either way.

The opened salt shaker was on the counter, and the brown glass bottle sat unopened on the counter for a bit as I stared at it. I bit my lip, hard, and could not feel it. I was rigid and frozen in time and space until his voice rang out for another beer, followed by the universal greeting of the human pig,an enormous billowy belch. Thank God I was far enough away not to have to smell it.

The extended sigh seemed to loosen my muscles up enough to get moving again, and I unscrewed the lid.

“Where is my fuckin” beer?”

I could hear him stand up and move toward the kitchen. Christ I was good as dog meat, or look as if mauled by dogs. So much of a regular occurrence was his violence toward me, that before he was in striking distance, I was already concocting the story to tell the neighbours, or anyone I might run into.

Then, silence, followed by some gurgling sounds and a crash hard enough to shake the house’s foundation. I stood silently and motionless for the second time with the opened bottle of rat poison in my hand. What to do next.

I screwed the jar lid back on, and taking my sweet time put it away and got him his beer. Either way he would beat me, even if he was just stopped now by his fall. There wasn’t a sound from the other room. So, brazenly I pulled out a chair and sat, having a sip of his beer.

Now that was something I had never done before. Normally I would just simply jump up get his beer and within seconds have him sucking it down. After my second sip I felt a sense of curiosity come over me, as he had not made any sounds at all. So, taking the beer with me I walked to the living room, and there sprawled out like a gutted carp was my hubby of over twenty five years. Motionless. Again I sat down. I sat down on his chair in a strangely necessary act of defiance. Another sip of beer passed, and another. I had stared at him awhile now and could not see his carcass move up and down as you would expect from a man still alive. Dared I hope? Not wanting to be disappointed just yet I waited another minute, but there was not change. I put down the beer and slowly crept toward him.

going going gone

aletta mes

It’s all up to him now…

15 08 2006

Fat piece of filth. That’s what he was to me now. A big blob taking up space and oxygen in my already cramped world. He was suffocating me with his presence. Wherever I was I could sense him, breath away. Often he was just that, a breath away, all day. Not that he pined for me, oh no. He just couldn’t bear letting me feel free for even a moment. He hadn’t allowed me outside for over a week. I still had the hand print on my neck from trying to go out to the yard to feed the birds. Apparently the kitchen was not clean enough and he damned me back to scrubbing an already sterile floor.

The opposite reaction to mine, as I remained in this loveless marriage all I wanted to do was leave and change, everything. Not him, the more the marriage fell apart the more he wanted it at all costs to remain together. Nothing, he reminded me, was ever over until he said it was.

As I watched him shake a kidney damaging amount of salt onto his stew it was obvious what has to be done, mix a toxin in with the salt and let him poison himself. I had over the past months collected up a wide array of toxins from castor beans ready for crushing to Warfarin and strychnine. I was not sure what I could stand to watch. Poison is a bit slow, might take time. He might be sick for days or even months before succumbing to poison. Could I handle that?

As he grunted and too pains to rearrange his belly folds between courses, I made a decision. He had until his birthday to start the afterlife due to his sky-high cholesterol and the all-fat diet he was on, or, I would speed up his journey to hell. It wasn’t homicide, it was survival.