The Road to Cyberia, unknown Date, but sometime in autumn

28 01 2007

I rose from the water and dressed slowly.  I wondered what to do next.  I am alone, in the woods, without food.  But not without wits.  And with a manifestation of the goddess in the guise of an enchanted doll.  Which, I suppose, is really a symbol of my own strength and cleverness.

I started walking, choosing to follow the sun.

At the end of the day I came to a crossroads.  There, the White Knight of Baba Yaga, waited, his horse pawing the ground impatiently, snorting and huffing.  The knight remained seated calmly.  I could feel his gaze from behind his visor.  My face grew warm with a blush.

At the crossroads was also my little wagon, pulled by Jenny.  I met her deep eyes, she nodded her head, “Yes, you may choose” said her gesture.  

My eyes lingered on the romantic hero on his horse.  Part of me thrilled to go with the White Knight.  I could feel myself being pulled up behind him in the saddle, clasping my arms around his armor, listening to his heart beat through the metal, reverberating with the pounding hooves.  Where would he take me?  What adventure would that choice bring?  Would my dreams come true?

I laughed gently inside myself. I had chosen the knight before, as a young woman, a young bride, believing love would bring me my hearts desire.  In a way, it had.  But I am older now, and my heart’s desire, my dreams are no longer tied to love, to marriage, or family.  I do not know what they are; I only know what they are not. 

Confident I waked to my Jenny.  I stroked her long forehead, and nuzzled into her neck.  I clambered up on the seats and flicked the reins.  Behind me I heard the thunder of hooves, fading quickly in the direction of the sun, my road went south. 

Around the bend, waiting for me, was Lucia and a handsome man holding her hand, Michael, the grandson of Lavengro, Chieftain of the Gypsies.

Jenny halted, turned her head to watch me leap from the driver’s bench and fly to Lucia.  She gave a soft bray, a donkey laugh.  

I held Lucia tightly, cried, laughed, and kissed her head and cheeks and hands.  Dear friend, dearest friend, sister, daughter, Light and guide.  Such joy!  Nothing down the road not taken could surpass this.

Michael I knew little of, meeting him briefly during my stay at his Grandfather’s camp.  Clearly he is beloved to Lucia, and therefore, beloved by me.  Together we climbed aboard my wagon and continued south.


I did not note where we were going.  I was too excited to ask or even to care!  At evening we camped by a spring.  I gathered sticks with Lucia and helped her prepare bannock for our dinner.  We cooked them on the rocks by the fire and ate them with windfall apples and pears we gathered along the way. 

The evening was crisp.  It was delight to be wrapped in a shawl, toes toasted by the fire, a cup of tea warming my hands.  Michael played his guitar.  The music of his strumming, the crickets, and the night birds created a symphony of peace.   Soon Lucia and I were helping each other stumble sleepily to the wagon.  We curled under the blankets and slept deeply.

Lucia and I made more bannock and tea to break fast.  Michael was fishing, so we curried Jenny, braiding her mane with ribbons and bells.  When Michael returned we fried the fish, broke camp, and were on our way again. 

Lucia and I spun wool while Michael drove.  He sang as he guided our Jenny.  Before too long I was singing along, at least the choruses.   Such passed fair weathered autumn days. 

Other days were windy and cold.  Those days we walked alongside the wagon huddled in our cloaks to stay warm.  On raining days we rigged a tarp off the side of the wagon nearest the little porcelain stove.  Here our Jenny stood in relative comfort, her ribbons and bells bedraggled.  But better than her contemporaries on the moors, as Michael pointed out.

The wildest days we spent inside, cramped and cozy, the little wagon home.  I cherished these rainy days as much as the fair.  It was then I caught up in this journal on all the happenings of the past months.  I am grateful to Mnemosyne for helping me remember everything with such clarity.

Time passes so quickly to the rhythm and melody of gypsy travel.  By noon, ten days from the crossroads, we arrived at the gates of a great city.

“Welcome to Cyberia, the City of
Ladies,” sang Michael.

“I have never heard of this place,” I responded, more than a little in awe of the beautiful and formidable gates.

“Not surprising.  Very few know of it.  Fewer still can find it.  And fewer still stay.”

Comfortable enough to tease I asked Michael if he had stayed in the City of

“Of course! Men are welcome here, if they are gentlemen.  Women are not welcome if they are not ladies.”

“What makes a lady?  What makes a gentleman?”

Michael flashed a grin.  “That is the question.  What is the answer?”





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.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

2 09 2006

This is, without a doubt, is my favortie prompt at the Soul Food Cafe: I’ve used it more then once and written about four stories based on it.

Give it a try sometime! 

The Deserted Farmhouse 


Back along on Deception Road is a little farmhouse that no one lives in.

After the house was built and then put up for sale the orchard out back died, the little vegetable garden died and all of the pumpkins and squashes and tomatoes rotted right on their vines.

Even the flowers in the window boxes shriveled up and turned to dust within a day or so after they were set out and all the little farmhouse could do was slam its doors open and shut and make the clock in its kitchen strike twelve over and over again.

The man who built the farmhouse, Travis Janosik, use to stand out at the road and wonder what the hell was going on in there, why was it that nothing could live near that place without giving up the ghost.

There was nothing about Travis that would make you say, ‘you know that killer house? The one on Deception Road? It was built by Travis Janosik” and the person you would be talking to wouldn’t reply, “ Well of course it was a strange house. Look who built it.”

No, the house turned bad all by itself and this bothered no one more then Travis. What bothered him most of all  happened when the house was two years old.

That’s when someone actually bought it and moved in.

The ‘someones’ who bought the farmhouse were the Korbar Family.

Travis use to drive out to Deception Road and park across the way from the Farmhouse and watch it. He’d see Darius Korbar working the vegetable garden or see him sitting on the porch with one of the many children he and Mrs. Korbar had and they acted like any other family living in those hills.

Unless of course you really watched them the way Travis did.

At first he had no interest in the Korbar family. His interest was in that house and what it was up to now. It didn’t have to settle for killing plants and the odd field animal that got to close to its walls. Now it had the Korbar children who scuttled around the property in their ill-fitting clothes.

At least that’s how it looked but then Travis realized it wasn’t the clothes that didn’t fit right, it was the bodies inside the clothes that weren’t right.

The children’s heads were to large for their small bodies and their hands and feet didn’t seem to be the same size and when they talked Travis felt the hair rising up on his arms and the back of his neck and that’s when he’d cut his daily vigil off.

Once Travis saw Mrs. Korbar come down the front steps with a tall glass in her hand and make her way to the garden to where Mr Korbar was working. She handed him the glass and he kissed her cheek and then she made her way back up the steps and Travis watched her but didn’t notice that as she climbed the steps her head was tilted slightly backwards and her back was straight as a pole and she never bent her knees.

It was like she was gliding up the steps and not walking up them at all.
Towards the end of the summer the gardens were dead and rotten and Mr Korbar was out there working it like it as if it were alive and thriving. The ground was water logged and moldy with green slime. The vegtables were rotting and decayed and you could actually smell it when the wind shifted.

On top of the fact that Travis was watching a man harvest from a garden full of rotten vegetables he was also sure that some of that smell was coming from Mr Korbar too.

Travis promised himself after that visit he wouldn’t go near the Farmhouse on Deception Road. Something was wrong with it, something was wrong with the people living inside of it and Travis was certain if he didn’t stop going over there something would be wrong with him too.

Of course, it was too late because that something had already happened to Travis and he found himself standing at the end of the drive leading right up to the Farmhouse the next day.

He was in plain view and Mrs. Korbar must have seen him from one of her windows because he wasn’t there for long before she came down the steps and met him with a basket of rotting carrots and maggot filled tomatoes on her arm.

“ We never got the chance to thank you for building this wonderful house Mr Janosik. Its perfect and we love it so.”

Travis was looking into the basket of dead and decaying vegetables and he said, “ How could you love it so? Nothing can live inside of that thing…”

And Mrs. Korbar said, “ Well, Mr Janosik nothing does…”



26 08 2006

By Anita Marie Moscoso

 From The Soul Food Alphabet Project

“F” is for Fire Filled Forge

When Morgan Gamble was 12 he pushed a classmate over a railing when she was trying to collect leaves on a class field trip for a project. The Project was a little booklet of local native plants and the little girl- Ona  Crocata, fell to her death to the rocks below the bluffs.

In the spirit of true American Justice the police talked to Darren Marks, the bad kid who lit fire crackers in the bathrooms and smoked his dad’s cigarettes during recess behind the gym, they talked to Crystal Barker who’s Father was in jail and they talked to the Simon Ledbetter, one of the Park Maintenance staff who spent his weekends at Peace Rallies at the University in Feverfew.

The Police were about to resort to using a Ouija Board if need be to talk to a few of the executed criminals who took their last breath up at the Prison in Fallen (the next town over) because that made more sense then to even think about questioning Morgan Gamble, who was not only seen walking up the path to the cliff tops with Ona, people actually saw him running down the path after Ona hit the rocks below.

Morgan Gamble played baseball and was a Boy Scout and his older brother was a first year Med Student and his high school age sister a cheerleader. His Mom’s name was Betsy and his Dad was named Skip and they had two cars and one of the biggest, newest houses built in the newest and best new town of Ransomville.

Why on Earth would you spend time talking to a boy like Morgan who came from a family like the Gambles about the Murder of a little girl with perpetually tangled hair and socks that didn’t match and clothes that her Mother bought at the Neighbors In Need Charity Shops?

In the end a lot of people thought that, so Ona Crocata’s death was ruled a suicide.

After all, it was decided what else could it have been?

The stars that filled the sky lined up for Morgan Gamble: he got to grow up and get married and have a wife and a home of his own while Ona Crocata, wrapped in a simple white sheet and dressed (the dress had actually been carefully draped and pinned around the little girls smashed and ruined body) in her Mother’s best Easter dress turned to dust and bone in her simple pine casket at the Leaning Birches Cemetery in Larkspear.

Despite the fact the Sun and the Heavens smiled down on Morgan his eyes were closed to all of it. He didn’t see it; you don’t need to have open eyes to look into yourself 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Ona Crocata eyes were always opened.

And they were always looking out.

Morgan’s wife was named Ginny and the only difference between Ginny and his Mother were their voices. Betsy Gamble talked high and fast and Ginny Leonard-Gamble talked high and ultra fast so listening to the two of them at the same time was sort of like listening to a table saw running none stop for hours on end.

Morgan didn’t care as long as that high pitched whine wasn’t heading in his direction.

Only last Monday not only did that high pitched intolerable whine head his way it ran down his throat and he almost choked on it. The Whine was magnified a hundred times over and the sound levels could only be compared to standing next to a jet when it takes off.

God, what was that noise?

Then he remembered- Monday night was The Book of The Month Club night.

On book club night Ginny and her friends sat around in their living room and talked about plot lines and drank some wine, they talked about character motivation and then they drank more wine by the time they got around to talking about what the book meant they were all blasted which was good because the only thing worse then listening his wife’s book club talk was listening to them talk sober.

At least this way they were sort of amusing.

It made up for the screaming headache Morgan got when they were around.

Morgan managed to make it from their indoor garage with minimum pain when two little words drifted up from the living room to the entrance way as he closed the living room door.

“Dog Girl”

His face turned red and he looked up and around to make sure he wasn’t the one who had said those words out loud.

Then he heard it again only much louder this time, “Dog Girl”

He followed those two words into his living room and smiled his best toothpaste ad type smile to his wife and her friends and said, “You all sound like Junior High school girls…what’s this Dog Girl talk?”

“It’s our book of the month “Ginny tried to say “it’s a ghost story.”

“About a Dog Girl? What is that some kind of New Age Hippy Chick in search of her inner animal or something?”

They all laughed like they were suppose to and Morgan preened like he was suppose to and then Mr. Good Humor Man left the room, “No really, what kind of story is it?”

Ginny saw her husband’s face turn to a cold hard mask right in front of  her friends for Pete’s Sake, how could he? So she tried to focus her eyes and get serious so she could get him out of the room.

“ It’s about this little girl who was murdered, when she comes back as a ghost she doesn’t know she’s dead and when she figures it out she kills her murderer.”

“Really.” Morgan held his hand out for the book. “Why is it called Dog Girl” was she ugly or something?

Ginny shook her head and the motion almost made her get sick. “No, that’s what he called her before he shoved her over the railing…Dog Girl.”

Morgan looked at the book and on the cover was a Walnut Tree growing over the edge of a cliff. “ No one could’ve known that, what it felt like to put his hand against the small of her back and feel that little push… no one except for Dog Girl and …”

“Morgan!” Ginny shirked as Morgan quoted the book “you’ve done it, you actually read a book!”

“How does she kill him?”

“He starts to see her everywhere, at the Park, playing with his children, in the Mall. She becomes as real to him as anybody and it makes him crazy.”

“Sees her?” he asked

One of Ginny’s friends chimed in, “He sees her everywhere. So he goes out to the Cemetery to find her grave and dig her up and it’s gone. Dog Girl is gone and so are her grave and tombstone and all.”

“ So, “ a high pitched voice grated against Morgan’s brittle nerves “ he goes out to his garage closes the windows and puts rags under the doors and such and starts his car and dies from carbon monoxide poisoning.”

“And just when he thinks he’s finally free of Dog Girl he sees her through the exhaust just outside of the driver’s window and he knows just as he dies it’s only the beginning. Dog Girl is never going to leave him…ever.”

Morgan nodded and for the first time in years, maybe for the first time in his life he looked outside of himself and all he saw was Ona “Dog Girl “Crocata.

He decided  it would be best if  he got use to it now because he had the feeling that was all he would be looking at for a very long time.

Look What I Found….

24 08 2006

Based on the Soul Food Cafe Exercise:

Muse Hymn Box

I liked this exercise because in the past I never really thought about my “ Muse” or where that sense of joy comes from when I finish a story.

It felt good, that’s all I cared about.

How shallow is that?

After I completed this exercise I re-discovered and remembered my Grandfather’s wonderful way of explaining the world to us.

His stories convinced me the ‘other world’ was as real as this one…and in the end, despite the fact that world was full of ghosts and demons and witches and spirits and cannibals I wasn’t afraid of it

Which is a good deal considering what I write about now


I wanted to write a story about a Witch- a no holds barred story about a Witch that plagues a town and drives it’s citizens to mind numbing distraction (which takes some doing because it turns out the residents of this town are Werewolves).

Where oh where to start looking…

I needed inspiration, I needed a face and in the end I found her and named her Calisaya Stoneroot. If you want to know the truth, even though I put Calisaya in a weird little town that’s suppose to exist here in Washington State she was actually born in the Sugar Cane Fields on the Big Island of Hawaii.

When I was a kid my Grandfather, Cypriano use to tell me about a demon-lady that hid in water and made a sound like a crying baby and when you leaned over the water or got close to help the baby she would reach up and snatch you down and drown you.

I could never really recall the entire story and when I checked into folklore discovered that my Grandfather (who was a storyteller himself) had probably combined two legends and created his own tale.

In part I discovered he had based his demon-lady on   La Llorona    “ The Crying Woman” According to legend The Crying Woman drowns her children after she is spurned by her children’s father.

If you see or hear the Crying Woman you are cursed and you will die.

I’m not sure how my Grandfather heard of the Crying Woman or why he changed her story. He kept certain elements intact, the children, the water, and the woman who is waiting to take you to your death.

However, the feeling I got when I heard the story was that he was warning us about something…or someone and to this day I don’t go near the water at night.

Even though how the Crying Woman came into my Grandfather’s life is still a mystery to me the theme of angry spirits living in the water is not.

These spirits that wait in the water so that they can hurt you may have worked their way into my Grandfather’s tales because in 1946 the worst Tsunami in Hawaii’s history struck the Waipio Valley and my Mother’s Family was living on the bluffs above the “ Valley of the Kings” when this happened.

Since then the locals shunned the valley as being cursed and no one except for maybe a few dozen families live down there now.

I have the impression that tourists and the outside world thought that the ‘simple field workers ‘ that settled above the valley in Honokaa had no idea that they were sitting on top of a potential money maker.

Actually we knew full well what was down there…and we still do.


So there it is, my Muse…it turned out to be my Grandfather Cypriano Guzman. The funny thing is no matter how dark or morbid or down right odd my stories are, when I write I can see him smiling and I can hear him laughing.

And I know he’s proud.


That’s Where She Got It From!

24 08 2006

scheherazade.jpgFrom The following exercise at the Soul Food Cafe

‘Lessons and Philosophy from the Bear of Very Little Brain’

Fe, fa, fi-fo-fum

I smell the breath of an Englishman

Let him be alive

or let him be dead

I’ll grind his bones to make my bread

And wrapped around these Merry Little Lines was a tale about Cannibalism, Breaking and Entering (or as they refer to it on the Cop shows “ B & E”) and cold blooded murder (okay, I’d settle for Manslaughter. Or would it be Giant Slaughter?) Regardless, that Giant wouldn’t have ended up dead at the foot of the beanstalk had a certain little Englishman not been snooping around places he didn’t belong!

Back to the story…before I learned to read my Mom use to buy me these children’s books called  “ Golden Readers”. They were easy to read (and by that I mean easy for the Parents to read.) The Fairy Tales were written at about an eight year olds reading level.Back in the day they were nice little books- I still have a few of them on my bookshelf. They were bound with string, not glue or paste and the pictures were wonderful.

Lots of detail, no pastels and they didn’t use block type. So no matter how little you were you felt like you were reading a ‘big kid’s book’.

And if you couldn’t read you may have done what I did: I use take the books and make my own story up to fit the pictures.

The thing is I ALWAYS saw more then what was actually there and by the ripe old age of five I was already addicted to a TV show called Nightmare Theatre. They played old horror and ghosts films every Friday and on Saturday afternoon they had a matinee.

I guess you can see where this is going…

Jack and the Beanstalk? Ha, How’s about Jack the Little Ripper?

I hated Jack.

He was mean and sneaky and remember the Harp calling out for the Giant? I thought she wanted to stay and I just knew that little Jerk Jack was going to take her down the Beanstalk and she would never see her castle again (well, that’s how I told it.)

I would read about Jack throwing all the stuff he stole from the castle down the beanstalk and just before he gets caught the last time he slides down the beanstalk, grabs an axe and he starts chopping and hacking until down comes the beanstalk and before you can say ‘busted’ the Giant crashes after it and dies.

So in the end Jack is sitting at this table and the harp is crying and Jack’s Mom is serving him stew (which I was convinced contained some Giant along with the chickens he stole…why NOT eat the Giant? He ate everything else he lifted from the Castle!)

Remember Jack swinging the axe? I do, I can still see it. So how does it end?

The last picture  in the book is of Jack at the table with the stolen harp and the chunky stew.

That picture  finally got to me in a big way.

I remember taking my little copy of Jack and The Beanstalk and tossing it under my bed where it STAYED.

That’s right…everytime I found it on my bookshelf or in my toy box I’d take that sucker and throw it under my bed because everytime I saw it I could hear that line over and over…the only one I remembered after my Mom read me the book ( I didn’t buy for a minute that malarkey she read was true)

Fe, fa, fi-fo-fumI smell the breath of an Englishman

Let  him be alive

or let him be dead

I’ll grind his bones to make my bread

It was never a Giant’s Voice I heard when I ‘read’ my little Golden Book. It was always a kid’s voice, a little boy’s voice. It was laughing the entire time and it wasn’t a happy laugh.

Fe, fa, fi-fo-fum

For the Love of this Beautiful Planet

11 08 2006

for artists without borders

I love this planet and take great offense to all who are willing to blow it to bits in the name of hatred and vengeance As women we have to raise better sons, with better values, and greater respect for the dignity of life. As an artist I would like to stop everyone to stand back and find beauty, and put the guns down. If we are not silent, and the like-minded stand together, they cannot win.