Monday, August 21, 2017

SO, YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED SOME STUFF HAS DISAPPEARED FROM THE BLOG...

A change in corporate policy has unfortunately resulted in my being required to remove much of my story/development artwork that I've posted over the past few years.

I continue to be very fortunate to work with a number of the best and most generous filmmakers and artists in the industry, but while I can't share the production artwork online anymore, I'll just switch the focus of this blog to more of the personal works that I'm creating.

First off, I'm going to make this the main site for the monthly postings of my:

13 STORIES THAT YOU SHOULD NOT READ TO YOUR CHILDREN, short story series.

And just to add back some artwork to this blog, here's some random scribblings from sketchbooks, etc.

Thanks as always to everyone who tunes in to see what I'm up to.



Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

vampire having a snack

LA driver #1

LA driver #2
Friendly vampire

Game of Thrones sketches

a couple of my 13 Stories sketches

Wonder Woman sketch

Thursday, August 17, 2017

13 STORIES: THE DOG THAT HATED ITS TAIL

I've skipped posting a few of these last stories, as I was trying to keep the majority of the traffic going to the official Facebook page, but I may switch over for the remaining 5 stories to a new blog dedicated to them exclusively.

I've got another bigger story planned for after this series, where I may issue one new chapter per month so that the complete novel will be finished at the end of the year, but we'll see.

For now here is the 8th story in my macabre series.

And i think I've hit on a unifying style for the accompanying illustrations.  I really like the idea of cross stitch, it has a very folk art feel to it, so my digital version of cross stitch for this months illustration will be the template for all the others.  That of course means I'll be going back to redo the first 7 illustrations in this style.




THE DOG THAT HATED ITS TAIL 
by
Darren Webb

Hubert loved to lick faces. It was his favorite way to greet people, though they didn't always meet him with the same level of enthusiasm. He was a dog of average size, with an unimpressive beige coat, but with the most above average loyalty. No matter how well or how poorly he was treated at the homes he lived in, Hubert was always unabashedly true.

People would forget to feed him, accidentally leave him outdoors during a ferocious rain storm or even be callously and needlessly abusive, but Hubert never lost his loyalty to them. It was the purest of hearts that beat in Hubert. But, that wasn't the only unique aspect to this dog.

As if diametrically opposed to his loyal heart, was his hated tail. Now, to any humans observing his behavior, it simply seemed as though Hubert was playing at chasing his tail, spinning wildly in tight circles until he caught hold of it and then gave his tail the thrashing it deserved, often to the point where he would draw blood. This wasn't some neurotic manifestation of deeply held insecurities, erupting into self mutilation, no Hubert had good reason to hate his tail as he did.

His scraggly, oversized, crimson colored, ever wagging tail was his bitterest enemy. Its odd coloring made it almost seem as though the tail had been an afterthought, tacked on well after Hubert had been born. It was because of his tail that Hubert had gone through so many different homes in his short life. It was the source of all his misery.

In the home where he'd been born, his tail had knocked over an oil based hurricane lantern and burnt the family home to the ground. In his second-chance home, his tail had knocked a toddler that Hubert was trying to keep from attempting to navigate the stairs on its own, tumbling straight down to the bottom floor, and in the home just before the one he found himself in now, his tail knocked over a glass of champagne during a marriage proposal, which resulted in a shockingly vicious physical response from the young woman who was being proposed to.

Now, it wasn't simply a matter of Hubert being clumsy, or being an uncoordinated canine, unable or unaware of how to control his tail. No, the answer wasn't that simple. Hubert knew this, but with his being a dog, there was no way to communicate his predicament to his frustrated humans, that his tail did in fact, have a mind of its' own. And a most vicious one at that. None of the "accidents" that Hubert supposedly caused were his fault at all.

Hubert lost his previous homes because his tail had purposefully knocked over the oil lamp, purposefully knocked the toddler down the stairs and purposefully ruined the engagement with spilt champagne, all to make Hubert miserable and keep him isolated.
Hubert's only recourse was to gnash and gnaw at his tail every chance he got.

The new home that Hubert had come to was a dogs' delight. Huge fenced in back yard with lush green grass for endless playing. Kind, attentive adults and three adorable cherubic little girls, of whom Hubert was fiercely protective and those three cherubic girls adored him in return.

His new family thought it funny how Hubert seemed to constantly be turning on his tail, almost as if he were trying to catch it unawares, as if the tail were trying to do something without Hubert being aware of it. And in truth, that's what was happening, but the sweet family that had taken Hubert in, simply thought their new dog was being silly.

Of the three cherubic little girls, Annabelle loved Hubert the most. She was 5 years old and possibly the most observant person in her family. She could tell that when Hubert would act out against his own tail that he really was in distress. Annabelle would strut right over to Hubert, as he spun in tight circles to catch his tail and just throw herself around his neck and hug him tightly. Instantly his manic tail chasing would stop and the two would sit in a calm embrace, Annabelle giggling while she played with the scraggy hair on his head as Hubert licked her face in deep gratitude.
Hubert felt that he had found his forever home, here with the understanding, gentle Annabelle and her family, but it was not to be.

Hubert had been so happy in the short time that he'd been in his new home, running around that lush yard with the three little girls, eating the delicious boiled chicken, rice and sweet potatoes he was served for each meal and sleeping at the foot of the bed of his beloved Annabelle, that he let his guard down when it came to his maniacal tail.

One afternoon, Hubert and Annabelle were chasing one another around the back yard, while her sisters and parents sat off in the shade, drinking lemonade and eating fresh berries. Annabelle was spinning and turning wildly, trying to catch Hubert off guard. The sweet dog leapt around, rolling in the grass, then springing up like a cannon shot to the sound of Annabelle's musical laughter, when she suddenly took hold of his tail. Hubert's tail had been waiting for a moment like this to destroy his happiness. His tail suddenly and violently wrapped itself around Annabelle's neck and threw her to the ground.

Horrified, Hubert reacted as he always did when his tail acted up, and instinctively began chasing his tail in a tight circle, poor Annabelle still trapped in it's ever tightening grip. The family looked up to see the terrifying sight of their little Annabelle seemingly being thrown around the yard by her dog as though she were helpless prey.

Annabelle's sisters began to cry as her parents rushed over to free their daughter from what they thought was the vicious attack by her beloved pet. Hubert managed to get hold of
his tail and bite down hard. His tail released Annabelle just as her parents reached them. Father struck out at Hubert, while Mother cradled her little girl. Hubert put up no struggle whatsoever as Father dragged him to the far corner of the yard and chained him up to the wrought iron fence,far from his family. Hubert sat with his head drooped, almost touching the ground, but his eyes sadly looked up to watch his dear Annabelle be taken into the house and away from
him.


The doctor arrived and Annabelle was deemed clearly shaken from her ordeal but with no real physical harm at all. The only thing that Annabelle wanted was to have her Hubert in her room, but her parents and the doctor agreed that that would be unwise, despite her unrelenting pleas to the contrary. Hubert could see into her window from where he sat chained in the backyard, and hear her cry out for him, and he joined in, mournfully howling back to answer her cries.

As night came and the family slept, Hubert thought and thought. He thought about Annabelle and how she loved him, the many homes that he'd lost and his vicious, monstrous tail and all the misery it had caused him and the little girl it had almost killed. Hubert had lived with this tormenting for long enough.

He turned suddenly and ferociously gripped his demonic tail between his snarling teeth and began to tear at it as hard as he could. The pain meant nothing as his teeth bore down and began to tear the fur and skin from his tail. He kept biting and tearing, blood streaked down his whiskered chin until finally Hubert tore his tail free from his body. Panting heavily, tears filling his weary eyes, Hubert stared down at his now severed tail, as it lie in a small pool of blood and dirt, motionless. How could this clump of hair, bone and muscle given him so much trouble? But, now it was done. He would be free of his tormenting tail for the rest of his days. Hubert dug a deep hole at the farthest he could reach from where he was chained and then dropped his bloodied tail in and buried it. With that, he lay down to wait for morning.

The next day came and mother and father kept their three cherubic daughters inside, while they fretted all the day long over what to do about Hubert. He'd been such a true and loyal protector for their daughters, but now they were unsure.

Annabelle refused to leave her room unless she could see Hubert, but since her parents would not allow it, she sat at her bedroom window and stared down mournfully at her Hubert all the day long.

That longest of days turned again to night and Hubert fell asleep out in the cold, alone. A gentle rustling suddenly woke Hubert from his sleep. It was well into the early morning hours and Annabelle had crept out of her room and was wriggling out of the dog door in the kitchen to make her way out into the yard to see Hubert.

The bloody stub where his tail had been wagged furiously
with joy as he raced out toward Annabelle and stretched the chain that tied him to the wrought iron fence to it's limits when she finally reached him. Annabelle wrapped her arms around Hubert's neck and hugged him close to her, as he licked her face furiously, as though she were made of ice cream.


She giggled and he panted from joy. Annabelle knew Hubert had been protecting her all along, that it had been his tail that attacked her and not him. Hubert proudly showed his tail free backside to Annabelle, as an assurance that he'd put her safety above all else.

Tears filled Annabelle's eyes, as she understood what he'd done for her, but suddenly her expression was shrouded with dread, as a dark form emerged from the shadows behind Hubert. Hubert could sense something was wrong and turned to face the shadow.

Slowing emerging up from the very spot in the ground where Hubert had buried his severed tail, crawled a creature, not quite a dog, not quite a demon, covered in crimson red matted hair, with no eyes but an enormous mouth filled with charcoal black teeth. Hubert knew instinctively, that this was the creature that had inhabited his tail, that had caused his life to be filled with misery, here now fully formed, fully independent of him and ready to once more snatch away Hubert's happiness, Hubert's Annabelle.

Annabelle ran toward the house and the creature lunged for her. Hubert managed to catch her by her nightgown and pull her safely to him before she could get out of his range, for Hubert still chained to the wrought iron fence knew that he must keep Annabelle close by if he hoped to keep her safe from this creature.

The eyeless demon attacked Hubert, biting his front leg deeply, drawing blood. Hubert backed away, licking his wound, but noticed that the creature suddenly limping, also bearing a wound on the same leg that it had just inflicted on Hubert. Seeing its distress Hubert counter attacked, biting and clawing at the creatures eyeless face.

He strikes a fierce blow, tearing off one of the creatures ears, but at the same time Hubert cries out in pain as his ear is simultaneously torn from his head. Annabelle moves to comfort Hubert, but he now realizes the connection between himself and this creature born out of his own tail. What happens to one happens to the other. If Hubert is to kill this creature and save Annabelle, he too will die. But for a dog whose fierce loyalty and pure heart knew only that, his choice was clear.

When the creature again lunged toward Annabelle, Hubert snared the beast in the chain that held him to the fence. The eyeless beast could only smell Annabelle and Hubert, but couldn't see the chain that Hubert now pulled tighter and tighter, choking the life out of both the demon and himself. Annabelle knew what was happening and grabbed hold of the chain, trying to stop Hubert from completing his task, but as Hubert ended the demonic creatures life, he looked deep into the loving eyes of his dearest Annabelle, knowing that though his life was over, he'd truly saved both of them.

In the morning when Annabelle's parents and sisters found
her in the yard cradling the lifeless body of her dearest Hubert, the only thing that remained of the creature they'd battled together was Hubert's severed tail resting on the ground. No one ever believed Annabelle's story about Hubert's devotion, his possessed tail or the demonic creature that they'd battled, but Annabelle knew it was all true.


Throughout her long, generous and well lived life, Annabelle rescued many more dogs, all of them she would name, Hubert.





           

Friday, April 21, 2017

THE GIRL WITH THE JEALOUS REFLECTION: 13 STORIES THAT YOU SHOULD NOT READ TO YOUR CHILDREN

Here's tale of terror #4 in my bizarre little collection of macabre short stories.  Enjoy.



The Girl With The Jealous Reflection 

by
Darren Webb

Gwendolyn was the most popular girl in the seaside town of, Shallow Shoals. She regularly spent her mornings at the beach ensuring that the newborn sea turtles found their way safely into the ocean, despite the seagulls diving down to devour them. In the afternoons, she read stories of daring adventure and romance to the forgotten inhabitants of the retirement home that overlooked the ocean, providing them with an escape while awaiting the inevitable. Her favorite activity though, was taking groups of children from the orphanage on outings to enjoy the amusements on her beloved pier, riding the ornate animals on the gilded carousel, watching the candy concessioner create towering spires of cotton candy to devour, but mostly she enjoyed running through the fun house and it’s mirror maze.
The distorted glass reflections twisted her beautiful visage into bizarre and hilarious configurations. Gwendolyn would laugh hysterically at how the mirrors would inflate her head with its radiant sun soaked blonde hair, how her teeth, white as pearls would swell to more than 4 times the size and how her starry blue eyes would shrink to tiny pinpricks, enveloped by her distorted features. For one as lovely as Gwendolyn to be so unconcerned by how she looked was just one more of her many charms. She was a reflection of the best in humanity; the best people hoped that they could be. Everyone in town adored her, supported her and just hoped to be able to find a way to be a part of her wondrous life. Everyone except, Gwendolyn’s own reflection.
Where other people’s reflections were simply that, a mirrored and lifeless mimic of their own likeness that was not, in and of itself alive, Gwendolyn’s was very much alive and very, very jealous. Watching Gwendolyn her entire life, the jealousy and anger that her reflection felt, grew with each passing year, for she was only able to watch as Gwendolyn’s life went on joyously, yet she, her reflection could never actively participate.
Every so often, while Gwendolyn would sit brushing her shimmering blonde hair, before she was to set out to save turtles or play with orphans, she could swear that she’d caught something odd just beyond the corner of her eye, that her refection stuck out its tongue at her, something she clearly was not doing herself. But like all people do, Gwendolyn just dismissed this as nonsense, which turned out to be most unfortunate for her. Her assumption was that her perfect life would continue as it had, but it was not to be.
One night, when Gwendolyn’s mother was drawing her a bath as Gwendolyn sat in front of the mirror, pinning up her hair, she watched in shock as her reflection stopped mimicking what she was doing and instead, silently moved, in the mirrored
reflection, to the bathtub and shoved mother’s head down under the water. Gwendolyn shrieked in horror and wheeled around to find mother, perfectly fine, with not a drop of water on her. Gwendolyn turned back to the mirror to once again find her reflection had resumed its rightful position.
That night as Gwendolyn lay in bed, stroking her beloved cat, Mr. Midlothian while he purred soundly asleep next to her, she studied her reflection in her bedroom vanity, it once again broke from mimicking her own actions. Her reflection sat bolt upright, grabbed Mr. Midlothian’s reflection by the scruff of his back and with a twist, snapped the cat’s neck.
Gwendolyn screamed out, her parents rushed in to find her inconsolable, muttering about her reflection killing her beloved Mr. Midlothian, despite the fact that the cat was in reality, perfectly fine and unharmed, even though he was a little shaken by Gwendolyn’s sudden shrieking waking him from his sound sleep.
Gwendolyn managed no sleep for the rest of the night. Her parents covered the mirror in her room and all the mirrors in the house with blankets, as their nervous daughter refused to even look in a mirror when getting ready for the day.
Gwendolyn raced out of the house and headed to the beach to start her day helping the baby turtles find their newborn selves into the sea wanting to put these bizarre incidents with her reflection behind her. As each day before, she kept the predatory seagulls away from the delicate baby turtles as they scuttled their way into the water. The sun shining down onto the water created a mirror-like surface and on that was cast Gwendolyn’s reflection, who was not shielding the turtles like Gwendolyn was doing, but picking them up and tossing their fragile soft shelled bodies high into the sky to be picked apart by the diving seagulls. Gwendolyn ran from the beach and her tormenting reflection, leaving the actual baby turtles to the mercy of the ravenous gulls.
Growing more and more nervous yet convinced that she was indeed being stalked by her own reflection, Gwendolyn arrived at the retirement home to read that day’s adventure story to the residents, who very much looked forward to hearing her readings. Gwendolyn looked around anxiously for any reflective surfaces, but she spotted none. As she began to read a story of high seas adventure, one of the elderly residents whose particular impairment was his poor vision, wheeled himself closer and closer to Gwendolyn as she read of a rousing pirate raid. Gwendolyn looked up to see the elderly man coming closer and in the reflection of his enormous glasses, Gwendolyn was once again confronted by her villainous mirror image.
She stopped reading abruptly as she became transfixed by the sight of her own living reflection in the man’s glasses, setting the old age home ablaze, leaving the elderly residents to their doom. Of course this wasn’t truly happening, but for Gwendolyn to see herself, her reflection perform such acts of cruelty, she jumped up from her chair and ran from the parlor in such a hurry that she accidently knocked over a gas lamp that started the drapes nearby to burn rapidly. Luckily a nurse heard the commotion and extinguished the fire before much physical damage had been done but, to say that the elderly residents would not be looking forward to another story time with Gwendolyn was an understatement.
Now, wracked with fear and doubt, Gwendolyn was debating whether she was fit to take the orphans on their outing to the amusement pier, but when she arrived at the orphanage, and saw the children all dressed and ready to go, she couldn’t disappoint them. How could she explain why she didn’t want to take them, for even she could scarcely believe what she’d been experiencing that day. So off to the pier they went.
Skeptical and nervous, Gwendolyn brought the orphans to the carousel making sure she rode on the horse that was the most scuffed up and dull so as not to see her own reflection on the ride. Then she took them to the candy concessioner for his towering spires of cotton candy, but she made sure to stay far away from his silver, shinny candy spinning machine, again to avoid her reflection. Finally they arrived at the fun house with its distorted mirror maze. Gwendolyn hesitated and told the orphans she would wait for them on the pier, but they said they were afraid to go without her and began to cry that she refused to go on their adventure together. Gwendolyn would not allow herself to be a prisoner of her fear, and so off into the fun house mirror maze they all ran.
At first Gwendolyn refused to look at her funny, distorted image in the mirrors, fearing that her living reflection would once again torment her with violent daydreams, but the laughing orphans finally coaxed her into opening one eye, then the other to see her silly reflection. But the minute Gwendolyn gazed upon her reflection; it began laughing maniacally, and then proceeded to decapitate the reflections of the orphans. The actual orphans were totally unharmed as they saw nothing unusual, but poor Gwendolyn had finally broken. Screaming out with all her might, she smashed her bare fists into the mirrors, shattering them one by one. The orphans ran from their beloved guardian as blood poured from her shredded hands, and glass shards fell like raindrops. When Gwendolyn brought her fist down to shatter the final mirror, her hand met that of her jealous reflection but the mirror did not break. Gwendolyn collapsed in pain as everything went blindingly white and she passed out.
When she awoke, she found herself in her own bedroom, but something felt off, things seemed slightly out of place, almost the opposite of where she’d left things that morning. Her nightstand now sat on her left-hand side, the door to her room was on the east side of the house, not the west and her vanity mirror was opposite of where it had always been. Suddenly, Gwendolyn sat upright and walked to the mirror, totally against her will, almost as if in a trance and it was then that Gwendolyn realized that SHE was now the reflection! Staring back at her, as she stood trapped and helpless in the mirror was her jealous reflection now moving through the physical world. Her cat, Mr. Midlothian hissed as the jealous reflection moved toward him and snatched him up by the scruff of his neck. Trapped in the mirror, Gwendolyn had no choice but to do the same and all she could do was watch and cry.

Friday, April 7, 2017

ELIZABETH ITO'S, WELCOME TO MY LIFE- now on youtube!!!

QUICK!  Click the link below and enjoy the genius that is Elizabeth Ito!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idT98H8TK-U&feature=share



I've had the very good fortune to call Elizabeth my friend, since we both started working at Dreamworks Animation almost 15 years ago.  She is a wildly talented artist, writer and storyteller.

Liz has nurtured this very personal story for quite some time and to see it come to fruition in such a beautiful, unique and charming way is truly inspiring.

Liz and her husband, the equally talented and prolific, Kevin Dart are true originals and stand out people in this crazy industry and I'm so happy she's finally able to share her beautiful short film.

Having already won acclaim on the festival circuit, here's hoping this becomes a series at Cartoon Network!!!









Wednesday, March 22, 2017

THE RAVENOUS BABY: 13 STORIES THAT YOU SHOULD NOT READ TO YOUR CHILDREN.

Please feel free to follow along on my public Facebook page for these 13 original short stories:

Here's my twisted little tale for the month of March.


THE RAVENOUS BABY
By Darren Webb

Wiloughby was a very healthy, pink toddler. He loved playing with his spotted eared puppy, even though the puppy was much steadier and sure footed than he. Wiloughby loved playing catch with his father, even though his manual dexterity was far from being perfect, since he was only 11 and 3/4 months old. He loved being bathed by his mother while she sang sweet songs of the alphabet and whistled like a bird. But most of all, Wiloughby liked to eat. Everything.
Whatever came into Wiloughby's pudgy grip was consumed. The more Wiloughby ate, the more rapidly he grew and he was not a fussy eater, he was a constant eater. Occasionally, as babies do, he would eat something that would not be considered food under the worst of circumstances. The odd button, ceramic nicknack, and pine cone would go down with as much ease as a bowl of porridge or a piece of ripened fruit, without the slightest of ill effects.
Wiloughby's parents were both happy to know that their son had a healthy and fairly iron clad constitution, while being understandably concerned about the vast quantities he ate and the speed of his mountainous growth. All without the aid of any teeth. For it was well past the time in a child's life that teeth would have made their much heralded and painful entry. Still, their absence did nothing to deter Wiloughby's advancing appetite, for his gums were as hard as steel and provided him the ability to grind the toughest of sirloins to bits. For this, Wiloughby's mother was notably grateful that he had never taken to allowing her to nurse him, for it clearly would have taken a terrible toll.
Wiloughby's parents had an assembly line contraption set up for feeding him throughout the day. Since they couldn't simply spend their days perpetually cooking themselves, beyond providing the 3 square and healthy meals plus snacks each day, a conveyor belt with a slow and steady moving track was installed that gradually transported food from the kitchen, through an opening in the wall, along the dining room and finally deposited food into the parlor where Wiloughby's play enclosure was located. This seemed to work for a while and allowed father to keep working at his job and mother some much needed time away from the constant feeding.
However, the first time the Wiloughby ate his dinner plate, cup and silverware, his parents immediately called the doctor, something that they had not done since his birth, despite it being a wise parenting move to have one's baby checked regularly, especially in their first years of life to make sure all growth and progress was progressing as it should. 
The doctor arrived as Wiloughby's father was administering the Heimlich maneuver to his son in hope of making him spit up the flatware, but no matter how hard they tried, Wiloughby would cough up nothing. The doctor was stunned at what he saw in front of him. Not that Wiloughby's father was doing what he needed to do in order to save his son's life, but that Wiloughby not only seemed to be perfectly fine and in no need of assistance, but that he sat approximately 6 feet tall! The doctor staggered toward Wiloughby as father unwrapped his arms from around this 6 foot tall toddler. With a fleeting glance to the doctor and a giggle, Wiloughby took hold of one of the dinning room chairs and promptly devoured it. Chomping down on the hard oak wood frame, his steel strong gums splintered the chair into bite sized bits. To the amazement of his parents and his doctor, Wiloughby finished off the matching set of chairs and the oak and cherry inlay table that mother had received as a wedding present.
The doctor cautiously examined Wiloughby while father distracted him with a game of catch, his spotted eared puppy jumped up and down with its tail wagging and mother sang her songs and whistled like a nightingale. The examination showed no ill effects of Wiloughby's ravenous appetite and despite the enormous 6 foot tall frame of this massive toddler, the doctor gave Wiloughby a clean bill of health. He did however suggest that despite Wiloughby's cast iron digestive tract, that it would indeed be best that he only consume food. Aside from being a disturbing sight to watch a 6 foot tall toddler devour an entire setting of knives and forks, plus chairs and tables, it would simply be too costly of a habit to keep having to replace all of the dinning room furniture after each meal.
Mother and father were relieved to hear that Wiloughby was in fine health and they hoped that eventually his all consuming appetite and abnormal physical growth would come more in line with other children they'd seen. However, it was not to be.
Wiloughby's appetite continued to grow as voraciously as his physicality did. At 7 feet tall he was up to 24 meals per day. At 8 feet tall, he ate 34 complete meals. At 9 feel tall, his parents had to widen all of the doorways and knock out ceilings so that Wiloughby could actually remain within the house.
He ate constantly. Now, even as he slept a table of food was placed next to him so that he could feed all through the night. If there was a lapse in time between feedings, Wiloughby would eat his bed linens, toys, teddy bear and even the floor boards. Even during his favorite activities, playing catch with father or with his spotted eared puppy, food would have to be added to the activity. If not Wiloughby's tantrums would threaten to bring the entire house crashing down around them all.
The only thing capable of soothing his famished outbursts was mother singing songs and whistling like a bird. But though they loved him, caring for Wiloughby was taking a terrible toll on his poor parents, for they were becoming exactly that, poor. His obsessive appetite consumed their money, time and their lives.
One day when mother was having problems getting the stove lit in time for Wiloughby's 3rd lunch, he sat in his room in a hunger frenzy, wailing aloud like a injured elephant. His spotted eared puppy heard his beloved Wiloughby crying and came in to comfort him. The dog slowly approached Wiloughby, who now exceeded 12 feet in height, gently crawled up onto him and began to lick the salty tears from his gigantic cheeks. Wiloughby stopped crying, looked down at the sweet puppy wagging its tail and in a single move, shoved him into his mouth.
Mother walked in with Wiloughby's 3rd lunch just in time to see the spotted eared puppy's tail disappear down her son's throat. She wretched in horror as Wiloughby giggled then let out a loud belch. As he began to tear the room apart in an attempt to satisfy his all consuming appetite, mother called the doctor to inform him of what had transpired with the dog. Then she called her husband and begged him to come home from work. The doctor was the first of the two to arrive and rushed right in to evaluate Wiloughby, but he had become impossible to control. As the doctor tried to place his stethoscope upon the monstrous toddlers chest to ascertain his health after eating his spotted eared puppy, Wiloughby grasped the doctor with his gigantic baby fingers and devoured him whole.
Mother screamed out in horror just as father burst into the house having run home all the way. Father jumped up upon Wiloughby and grabbed at the doctors foot still sticking out of his son's mouth and tried to pull him free, but with a lunging gulp, Wiloughby swallowed his fathers head, then like some nightmarish reptile, threw his massive head back and choked the rest of him down into his gullet as he flailed wildly until both father and the doctor were gone.
Wiloughby's hunger, still unabated, he began tearing the house apart, devouring everything. Wallboards, floorboards, family portraits, antique wardrobes, oriental rugs, all of it food for the insatiable toddler, including his mother. As Wiloughby made his way toward her in the corner where she stood in shock, she could think of nothing else to do, so she began to whistle and sing Wiloughby's favorite song in desperate hope of calming her giant man eating child. But his ravenous appetite had taken over. As he crawled closer her voice wavered and the sweet bird whistles she'd made so lovingly began to break into a sad weeping plea, until she was gone.
Wiloughby spent the rest of the night devouring every inch, every corner and stone that had once been his home, until he found himself totally alone and exposed. No more spotted eared puppy, no more games of catch with father, no more songs of the alphabet and whistling like birds with mother.
As he sat in the vacant patch of dirt, alone, he began to cry. Buckets of salty tears streamed down his soft, pink, gigantic face and ran into his mouth. He wiped away his tears, briefly tasting his own salty flesh. He pondered silently for a moment, then placed his foot into his mouth and began to eat. Then his leg, his arm, his hand until there was nothing left of Wiloughby. 
Nothing.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

13 STORIES THAT YOU SHOULD NOT READ TO YOUR CHILDREN: THE MAN WITH A MILLION MOUTHS







THE MAN WITH A MILLION MOUTHS
BY Darren Webb

Orville lived a solitary life. He roomed at Ms. Fieldings boarding house, in a room on the top floor at the back of
the stairs. He had a separate entrance, which always shrouded his comings and goings in much secrecy. The children who lived in the neighborhood said you always knew when Orville was near for the foul whispering in the air that always followed him, like hushed crowds speaking in angry, muted tones.


Orville worked as an operator on the overnight shift at the newly founded telephone company. The work allowed him to have contact with people without having to physically be in their presence. But, the foul whispers always enveloped him. When he would answer a call at his switchboard to connect a grandparent to their grandchild or a sweetheart to propose marriage to his long distance love, the people on the other end of the line were always subjected to the murmur of voices, uttering horribly vile words. Orville would make the connection for the customers as quickly as he could and then disconnect his line for fear that someone would think it was he who spoke such horrid words.

In a way, the words were Orville's, for where most people have pores in their skin, Orville had in place of each pore, an almost imperceptible, drooling mouth. Minuscule teeth, tongue and tonsils that were all capable of audible speech, but only speech in the most low, whispering of tones. To add to Orville's horror, the mouths never said things like, "How are you this fine day", or "My you look particularly well rested", instead the mouths only spoke in single words, the most vile and repugnant known to civilized man, words that would make even the hardiest and most stout sailor wilt with distress.

Once a woman who called Orville's switchboard asking to be connected to the local orphanage so that she and her barren husband might adopt an unwanted child, became so overwhelmingly distressed by the verbal assault of Orville's mini-mouths, that she passed out from shock. Her irate husband picked up the phone from his fallen wife's hand, heard Orville's mini-mouths filling the line with verbal atrocities, all the while Orville himself trying to offer an unheard apology. The angry husband promised to inflict bodily harm onto Orville should they ever have the chance to encounter one another in a dark alley. This type of misunderstanding occurred often and sometimes the beatings in dark alleys did indeed occur.

At the end of his shift, soaked in what seemed to others to be sweat but, was in actuality, saliva from the drooling million mini-mouths and before the town would awaken, Orville would skulk back to his room on the top floor at the back of the stairs. Once inside his room, door locked, window shades drawn closed, Orville would strip out of his saliva soaked clothes and submerge himself in a scolding hot bath filled with bleach. He would stay under water as long as he could until his lungs would betray him, then burst to the surface, the million mini-mouths gasping for air, the abrasive water burning his skin. This was Orville's way of letting them know how he felt about their existence. Once they regained their composure, the mouths would assail him with their toxic lullaby of hateful notes. Orville would gradually drift off to sleep, knowing he would always be alone.

One Monday night, toward the beginning of his shift at the switchboard, Orville received a call from a young lady, who spoke in a very sweet, yet surprisingly loud voice. She very politely asked if he could connect her to the local bakery, for she would like to order a cake for her birthday celebration that was to take place at the end of the week, promptly at 2:36 on Sunday afternoon. Despite the young woman shouting into the phone, Orville found her voice to be warm and all enveloping. He felt as though one does when wading through a shallow stream during the spring bloom, a sense of joy, nostalgia and tranquility.

Orville was overcome and stammered in trying to find the words to reply, but his mini-mouths did not hesitate. They sensed Orville's longing and began to chant a stream of intolerable words of malice. The sweet, yet stentorian voice on the other end of the line asked Orville if he wouldn't mind speaking louder since she was quite hard of hearing. Orville laughed aloud, not at the young woman's hearing impairment, but because of his realization that she could NOT hear his mini-mouths and their putrid cascade of insults. He was beside himself with joy, for finally, this was the one person who would be immune to the verminous gossip that his pores produced.

Orville and the young woman spoke for hours and hours that first night and each successive night that week, their connection was mutual and adoring. At the end of that Saturday night's conversation, Orville asked if he might deliver her birthday cake in person so that they might meet and celebrate the day of her birth with a lovely cup of tea and a generous slice of white chocolate truffle cake. The young woman on the other end of the line was overjoyed, but a bit nervous, for they'd never yet seen one another. Orville's warm conversation, kind nature and sincere desire to be with her, won her over and she agreed to allow him to deliver the cake for her birthday.

That night, Orville had the most blissful sleep of his life, the voices of his mini-mouths totally drowned out by his excitement over the prospects of a new life a rebirth. He dreamt happy dreams that night in anticipation that his loneliness had finally come to and end at last, but it was not to be.

The next morning Orville woke early, dressed in his finest suit and was completely oblivious to his million mini- mouths cursing and gnashing away. At 12 noon he proudly strode down the busy main street to the bakery, selected the most ornate and delicate white chocolate truffle cake in the shop, had it boxed ever so beautifully. Orville was oblivious to people's adverse reaction to the cloud of cursing whispers that enveloped him, as he made his way to the edge of town to the large house on the hill, where the young woman with the loud voice had told him that she would be waiting.

The house was enormous, completely white and pristine with pink and purple trimming, looking itself like a giant cake. Orville's pores, poured forth their foul murmurings endlessly, but he paid them no notice. He arrived at the giant double front door and a formal butler answered before he could even knock. He directed Orville to follow him to a dimly lit, grand study that was adorned with balloons and streamers. A table dressed in the center of the room, set up for tea for two. Orville was instructed to wait there with his cake.

As the butler took his leave, he glanced back at Orville pausing slightly at the oddly foul cloud of voices surrounding Orville. Three more male servants joined the butler as he whispered suspiciously to them as they all left Orville alone in the room amid his cloud of whispering atrocities.

The study itself was adorned with rich tapestries, exquisite paintings, all quite grand compared to Orville's modest room at the back of the stairs in Mrs. Fielding's Boarding house. He waited and waited, when he suddenly noticed a mantle clock's second hand was about to strike 2:36, when the doors to the study opened and carried in on a settee by the butler and the 3 other powerful male servants was the young lady with the sweet, yet loud voice. From her appearance she must have weighed 800 pounds if she were an ounce. Adorned with silk ribbons and bows, showered in lace, gently gliding in on the straining backs of the butlers, Orville thought that her loveliness put all of the fine art in this grand house to utter shame, for he had never, ever felt like this before. Fate, destiny, love, compassion overwhelmed his entire being and his monstrous mini-mouths could feel it too.

As Orville approached his angel, the one who would rescue him from his lonely, aching life, his mini-mouths shrieked their vicious, mutilating words louder than ever before, desperate to shred Orville's chance at happiness, covering him in saliva, so he looked as though he'd just stepped out of a steam bath, dripping wet.

The mini-mouths strained and screamed as hard as they could, much to the disdain of the servants who could clearly hear
the vile words surrounding Orville but, still unclear of their origin. Orville set down the box with the birthday cake gently on the table as though it were an offering to a goddess, then haltingly took the hand of the young woman in front of him. They peered into one another's sad eyes, when Orville paused for a moment before speaking, still shrouded in the swirling haze of expletives from his mini-mouths, which went blissfully unheard by the woman in front of him. But the million mouths would not let his happiness be.


In the instant that Orville opened his mouth to speak, the mini-mouths all inhaled a deep breath and fell silent. Orville opened his mouth and instead of speaking the loving words he'd been practicing all night, all the day, all the walk over to meet his darling, instead of those words came the hateful, vile words that had surrounded him his whole life! They came pouring, blaring and involuntarily from his very own mouth! The sweet young woman's face recoiled in horror. The servants so wary of Orville from the start, descended upon him and violently dragged him from the house, his beloved, his salvation and cast him out into the street for his shocking cruelty. None of them understanding that
it wasn't Orville at all, but the million vicious mini-mouths.

He sat in a motionless stupor for hours, while the million mini-mouths laughed, and laughed and laughed as he just stared up at that house as the sun slowly retreated and another night settled in.

Orville stumbled home, covered in a haze of those cursed, taunting voices from his own pores. He climbed the back stairs to his room, threw open the door, did not bother to pull down the shades, disrobed and drew a scolding hot bath. The mini-mouths knew it was time for their punishment. Orville grabbed the 13 bottles of bleach off the shelf and dumped them all into the scalding water. Then he grabbed a wire scouring pad and lowered himself into the boiling water. His phone began to ring, but he let it be. Once submerged in the water, Orville began to scrub himself with the wire pad as fast and a hard as he could.  The million mini-mouths cried out in pain as the milky water turned pink, then deep red. The mouths shrieked, the phone rang and Orville laughed and laughed and laughed, until all was quiet. 

13 STORIES THAT YOU SHOULD NOT READ TO YOUR CHILDREN: THE GLASS GIRL

So, in starting this writing project, I've been posting each month's story on a public Facebook page which you can find and follow here:



But, since it turns out lots of people on the interwebs do not have Facebook accounts, I'm thinking I may start a separate blog just for the 13 Stories series.  In any case, I thought I'd post the first two stories on here in the hope of reaching a broader audience.  Thanks for having a read.





THE GLASS GIRL
by Darren Webb

In a small New England town, very early in the last century, during the month of October, when the colorful leaves had begun their migration to the ground as the breath of winter approached, Stephan and his wife Louisa welcomed into the world their first and only child, a daughter that they named, Hortensia.

They noticed something different about Hortensia the moment she arrived, her skin was not pink as other babies they'd seen but, totally transparent so as to allow all who looked upon her to view her internal organs and bones. At first poor Louisa thought that her precious child had been born inside out and passed out from the shock. The doctor assured the new parents that despite her appearance Hortensia was indeed, right side out and that as unusual as this was, her skin should acquire its correct pigmentation as she grew. The doctor was correct, almost. Hortensia did grow as all children do but, he was not correct about her skin, for it remained as clear as glass. She also remained completely bald.

While Hortensia was an infant, her parents would always keep her bundled up under layers of clothes and blankets to hide her from prying eyes. But as it reached time for her to attend school, there were few options left. Her mother covered her as best she could with high button collars on her dresses, long knickerbockers down to her shoes, a large tight bonnet wound tightly around her head to keep her bright orange wig in place and delicate lace gloves shielding her hands. This left only Hortensia's face exposed, which could not be hidden beneath layers of clothing. Instead her mother would apply a rather liberal coat of make up, disguising her transparent skin the best she could. The result of all of this made Hortensia resemble a living porcelain doll.

The children at school thought Hortensia a bit odd for all the clothes she would wear, whether it be winter or summer, but for a while the disguise worked. Then one day, a fierce wind and rain storm began during Hortensia's walk to school. By the time she had arrived, her bonnet and wig had blown away and all of her makeup had dissolved in the rain. When she walked into the classroom, her bald head transparent for all to see, her teacher and classmates alike were dumbstruck.

One of the girls vomited up the oatmeal and toast she'd had for breakfast. A boy grew weak with horror and passed out, falling into several other screaming students, all of them ending up on the ground shrieking in terror. Hortensia's teacher thought she had been in a terrible accident and called for the doctor, despite Hortensia's attempts to assure them all that she was quite alright. When the doctor and Hortensia's parents arrived it was indeed confirmed that she had not been in a terrible, disfiguring accident, she was simply transparent.

Despite being assured that Hortensia was normal in every other way except one, the other children did not like to be around her. They began to call Hortensia, "The Glass Girl" and repeatedly smacked her with pointy sticks to see if she would break like glass. She did not break, but she was broken hearted. Hortensia thought that maybe as she grew older people would begin to get use to the sight of her. They did not. The teacher would often have Hortensia stand in front of the class and use her as a living diagram during biology lessons. If it was the correct time of day, one could see Hortensia's body digesting her lunch. A truly unique lesson, but not one that made Hortensia feel at all like a normal girl.

One day Hortensia could take no more. She packed up a small bundle and when she left for school that morning, she kept on walking and did not return home that night.

At the end of her first day walking toward what she hoped would be a better life, she came upon a carnival, which had a Bearded Lady, a Strong Man and an acrobatic set of Conjoined Twins. Hortensia watched as crowds of spectators eagerly swarmed to see these very unique people. As she watched the crowds applaud and cheer, she thought, this is where she belonged, a place where she could be happy and accepted. Hortensia found the Barker in charge of the carnival and informed him that she should like to be a part of the show and join his troupe of wonderfully unique people. Not seeing what was so unique about Hortensia, he refused and said she should go back home. Hortensia took a deep breath and removed her clothes and wig and stood in front of the Barker in all her transparency. The Carnival Barker fought back the urge to be sick, then quickly realized how famous he would become with Hortensia, The Glass Girl, in his show. He showered her with compliments, apologized for not recognizing her uniqueness sooner and invited her to join the show as the star attraction. Now, Hortensia thought she would be happy, but it was not to be.

The Carnival Barker kept Hortensia hidden from the other performers until it was time to unveil The Glass Girl to the adoring crowds.
The Strong Man lifted much weight mightily, The Bearded Lady wove her whiskers into intricate patterns and the Conjoined Twins performed acrobatics one would have thought impossible for two people joined at the hip. The crowd loved them all. But, when the Barker brought out Hortensia, The Glass Girl a solemn hush fell over the crowd and other performers alike. Hortensia removed her cloak and stood before the world, transparent.

The onlookers watched as her lungs inhaled and exhaled, her heart beat rapidly and her stomach churned in anticipation. The Crowd roared their amazement. Cheering and applauding they threw silver coins upon the stage in approval of the shocking and bizarre sight that the Barker had provided. Hortensia smiled as she basked in the approval and acceptance.

When the show was over, the money collected and the crowds gone, Hortensia went to introduce herself to her fellow performers. Upon entering their tent, she saw the Bearded Lady remove her artificial whiskers, the Strong Man deflate his pretend weights and the Conjoined Twins unzip their costume and step apart like the two distinct and separate individuals that they in actuality were. Hortensia was stunned. They weren't like her at all. Upon seeing Hortensia, the now Un-Bearded Lady shirked in terror. The Not-so-Strong Man and the Dis-Joined Twins spoke very harshly and most unpleasantly to Hortensia. She found herself more of an outcast then she ever thought she could be.

Hortensia ran from the tent, away from the carnival for as fast and as long as she could, racing through the night forest, branches scratching at her cloak, tearing pieces from it as she ran and ran and ran, until she collapsed into a bramble of bushes, unconscious from exhaustion.

She lay there unmoving and barely breathing for hours, when a Hunter and his son came upon her in early hours of morning. Seeing her lay there in the dim light of dawn, her internal organs exposed, and her cloak torn to shreds, they thought the poor girl lying in front of them must have been the unfortunate victim of a wolf attack and so, they buried her in a carefully dug grave among the brambles where she lay, Hortensia so exhausted she never woke.
As they were about to leave, the Hunter noticed a plant that bore round, delicate, transparent buds, that looked like silver coins growing next to Hortensia's resting place. He removed a handful of the dried, glass like buds, opened the fragile pods and removed the seeds within. From that day forward, he would plant one seed each year to the day, in honor of the poor, unclaimed girl they'd found in the woods that early morning.