Second Anniversary AND Colouring Pages

karliversary

Yes, it’s been two years since I started this blog with The Lemon Possum, and to celebrate, I am offering colourless versions of several images from the past 365 days for you to colour! Please post your finished works in the comments, and if there’s another image on this blog you’d like to colour, tell me and I’ll put up a colourless version!

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Night of the Pumpkin Woman

Yet another character from Even More Nightmare Rhymes returns here…

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I decided to summon the Pumpkin Woman.

I thought that she could only be summoned on Halloween Night. No, it was the end of September, and I heard she had been sighted in a nearby cemetery. I suppose when they said she could only be summoned on Halloween, they meant she could be summoned when the shops sold masks and chocolate skulls. Theoretically, she could be called on as early as late August.

I could have probably summoned her any time I wanted; every day is like Halloween for me.

The Pumpkin Woman was exactly what the name implied. A woman whose head is a jack-o-lantern with flaming eyes and big sharp teeth, usually seen with a knife like those used to carve her brethren.

Using a certain ritual, you could summon her and give her a request. It was entirely up to her whether or not she accepted your request, but people have used her to frighten their enemies, get revenge or even murder someone.

I had to summon her.

The ritual was simple. You had to be in a spot with some relation to Halloween; I was in the room where I kept all my masks. Draw a square on the ground with chalk and place an uncarved pumpkin on each corner. There was nothing she hated more than the desecration of pumpkins; she has been known to attack those who so much as drink pumpkin spice coffee in her presence. Not that I wanted to carve those pumpkins; I don’t think I could do such a thing without vomiting.

Over every pumpkin you had to put a drop of your blood, or in my case, what counted for blood. If I actually had blood, I wouldn’t be summoning her.

Then say the incantation. I did so, and flames erupted in the centre of the circle, making me cower. Thankfully, the heat subsided as soon as the flames cleared, revealing the Pumpkin Woman in all her glory.

‘Who summons me?’ She snarled, revealing all her yellow fangs, yet when she actually looked at me, her mouth shrank and her eyes bulged. ‘Oh…’

‘Yes, that’s right.’

‘I thought I was…’ She looked around the room. She looked at my masks. A collection of synthetic human faces for me to wear when I go out. Necessary for my survival and for summoning the Pumpkin Woman, yet often it feels like these masks are silently mocking me, reminding me of what has pursued me. Reminding me of what I could never be. ‘You really don’t pretend to be human, do you? They’re the worst.’

‘Well, it’s just…’

‘Don’t worry, I won’t do anything to you. I know how it feels. Now why did you summon me? What is your request?’

‘Well, I thought I’d get into the Halloween spirit a bit early and watch some horror movies. Would you like to join me?’

‘I’d love to!’ replied the Pumpkin Woman.

lisadvd

‘Thanks,’ I replied, ‘by the way, the name’s Lisa.’

The Hunter

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The grass tasted terrible.

My first thought of the day. Every time I wake up it takes a while for my brain to start thinking, and it only did so only after I automatically nibbled the grass. It had none of the refreshing flavour grass usually had; instead, it felt like the inside of my mouth was being sliced up.

This wasn’t my grass, and it wasn’t my countryside either. It looked like my countryside; same rolling hills, same shades of green, and yet I could tell this wasn’t my countryside. It certainly wasn’t my farm.

I wasn’t supposed to be out here at this moment. Today was the day of the fair, the day of the sheep race which I was supposed to run in. Yet here I was all by myself, out in the open with the new countryside, the disgusting grass and what looked like a big blob of bubbling tar.

Seeing that made my brain fully awaken, and finally I had the energy to run. Run where I didn’t know, just away from wherever that blob came from. Instead I ran right to it.

Before me stood a man, dressed no differently from most men I’ve seen. Flat cap, tweed jacket, waistcoat, boots. Most men I’ve seen, however, didn’t have green skin. Most men I’ve seen had noses, mouths and ears. The face of this man was nothing but a pair of large yellow eyes and a tube where there should have been a nose and mouth.

Next to him was a dog. At least what substituted for one. What looked like a giant sentient wig with fangs and legs that reminded me of needles. As soon as the hairy lump snarled at me, I ran in the opposite direction as another blob of tar soared over my head.

I turned around quickly to see the man launch the blobs from the tube on his face. That, and his “dog” scuttling towards me.

Faster, faster I ran, as much as it pained my legs to do so. I tried to convince myself I was overtaking the dog, yet I swore I could still feel its breath against my wool. I was even certain I could hear its master laughing at me.

I forced my body to run through the empty fields, clenching my teeth in an attempt to lessen the pain in my legs. I turned left towards a fallen tree, leaping over it in an attempt to confuse the monster.

Then I ran right into another. What looked like a naked deer with skin as green as the hunter, whose antlers looked like skinny human arms. With a high-pitched shriek, it charged towards me, and again I ran, my legs throbbing all the more.

I ran to the direction of a voice yelling, ‘Over here!’

This led me to a wood, with trees similar to what I saw back home, and even an animal I actually knew. A stag, an actual stag, not a green shrieking parody of one. It moved its head to the left as a gesture to come closer, and as I ran into the wood, he backed away. As soon as we moved deep enough into the wood that we were sure neither the furry beast nor the green creature could see us, he spoke again:

‘I suppose he still isn’t satisfied.’

‘Who isn’t? The hunter?’

‘Yes.’ The deer nodded. ‘He got tired of hunting the animals in his world so he went and pulled animals from our world.’

‘How is he doing it? Can I get…’

‘If I knew how to get back, I wouldn’t be here!’ snapped the stag before taking a deep breath, and saying, ‘Sorry. It’s just…I’ve been evading him for so long, and I don’t know how much longer I can do this…’

‘I’ve got a race today and…’

‘That’s…’ snarled the stag before quickly recomposing himself, ‘…not really important right now. What’s important is that we get back. I know where the Hunter’s house is. You’re smaller than me, so you can probably sneak.’

Another screech made me run further into the forest instinctively, only for me to return to the stag once the dreadful noise ended. He lay dead, a bird digging its claws into his flesh. A bird with wings like those of a bat and a forked tongue springing from a twisted beak.

As I hid behind a tree and tried to ignore the giant writhing blob of guilt in my gut, the bird picked up the stag and flew his carcass over the trees. I snuck after it and saw the Hunter and his dog again, the former raising his arm. The bird dropped the corpse near the Hunter and landed on the Hunter’s arm, nibbling on his fingers. In fact, it bit the Hunter’s fingers right off, only for them to grow back.

The bird then perched on the Hunter’s cap as the Hunter grabbed the corpse and drug it away. I followed, trying to make as little noise as possible, my eyes fixated on the stag who would probably still be alive if I hadn’t been teleported here.

Soon we arrived at a huge monochrome mansion, looking like a giant tombstone with windows and a door. In front of the house was a stone table, which the hunter placed the stag’s corpse onto. As I dove into a nearby bush, the Hunter pulled a knife from his pocket and slit open the stag’s stomach. Then he walked away as the dog and the bird feasted on the stag’s entrails.

I closed my eyes, yet they were forced open when I heard a slurping sound followed by the stag’s scream.

The Hunter had extended the tube on his face, and it dug into the stag’s neck. The stag writhed and screamed.

I bleated in fear, only for the bird to dive for me.

I woke up. I woke up and my brain switched on instantly. I so wanted to say, ‘It was all a dream,’ but then I heard, ‘That was too easy. Let’s have a more challenging hunt this time.’

The Shower Snake

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If you haven’t bathed in a while,
And you really smell,
That awakes a creature,
That looks like it came from Hell,

It looks like a snake,
With a silver shower head,
He’ll spray you with water,
And then you’ll be drenched,

The Shower Snake, the Shower Snake,
He seeks anything unclean,
Then he sprays with water,
All the dirty things he’s seen.

So if you’ve been out for a run,
And built up quite a sweat,
Out leaps the Shower Snake,
Who’ll then get you all wet,

If you go to the great outdoors,
And get covered in mud,
The Shower Snake’ll spring from a bush,
And he’ll get you good.

The Shower Snake, the Shower Snake,
He seeks anything unclean,
Then he sprays with water,
All the dirty things he’s seen.

One man told me, ‘The Shower Snake,
He really brings me fear.
Because once he came up to me,
And went right in my ear,

‘He actually went into my head,
And it caused me pain,
He slithered into my head,
And he sprayed my brain.’

Joke Books

Telling bad jokes incessantly was a habit that it took a long time for me to grow out of. When I was a kid, I owned pretty much every joke book ever published, and I spent more time memorising them than I did my history and maths books. Every knock-knock, every doctor-doctor, every creature that had ever crossed the road or found itself in someone’s soup; I knew them all and I recited them constantly to my friends, even if they had heard the same ones multiple times.

It even continued to my adulthood. I did tell more “adult” jokes, but I still remembered the ones from my childhood.  On a snowy day, I couldn’t help but mention a fusion of a snowman and a shark, or the happy schoolchildren who had been promised a test “come rain or shine”.

It only got worse when I started dating Harriet, who worked at the local library. She did introduce me to a lot of her favourite novels, so she did help me expand my horizons. However, my favourite books remained the ones from my childhood, so when I walked into the library to meet up with her as her shift was finishing, I couldn’t help but ask for An Encounter With A Tiger by Claude Armoff or The Hangover by Ed Ache. Every request would be met with an eye-roll and a ‘Very clever’ and never a genuine laugh, yet I kept doing it.

That is, until that one Autumn day.

I had just finished work and Harriet was finishing her shift, so off I skipped to the library, not even noticing the leaves sticking on my shoes as I neared the entrance. What I did notice, however, was a book that sat outside the front door. A book adorned with a picture of a crumbling Victorian mansion illuminated by a flash of lightning.

The Haunted House by Hugo First. A book I had “requested” from Harriet several times.

As I walked into the library, I picked up the book and opened it. I figured Harriet had designed a cover with the jokey title and plopped it over some other book, so when I opened The Haunted House, I expected to find the text of Pride and Prejudice or something. No, the inside had Hugo First’s name, and there was a full story relating to the title, though not what I was expecting:

Into the house of nightmares marched Harold and Lance, both of them entering at the same time. Though they heard creaks and groans and scratching, neither of them were scared and both of them stuck together.

The library was empty.

It was near closing-time, but usually even at this time there were people checking books out, kids on the computers, people on the chairs reading. This time, however, there were no human beings other than I, and the floor was littered with books. Books I had “requested”.

I picked up one and turned to a random page. A Day at the Seaside by Rhoda Donkey:

Gone. All gone. Those words echoed through Trevor’s head as he walked across the seaside, or what was once called a seaside. There was now not a drop of water to be found, and where there was once holiday-goers and energetic children, there was only sand and the bones of the dead.

A Visit to the Doctor by Ben Dover:

‘The Doctor strikes again,’ bellowed Detective Harry McFinland as he looked over the corpse. This killer was known as “The Doctor” due to how he dissected the corpses of his victims after he killed them and removed their kidneys. Shaking his fist, Harry said, ‘It’s time to pay a visit to the Doctor.’

How to Get Money by Robin Banks:

Get a job.

Book after book I picked up and flicked through, not even really in control of my body at that time.

Don’t Wake the Dog by Elsie Barks. The book cover was completely black except for the title and the name of the author.

All of the pages were blank except for the first page.

It read: Now you’ve done it.

Before I could ponder on what that meant, the whole library shook.

A bark. A bark that dominated the air of the library, a bark so loud I was certain the windows would crack.

A book’s title and contents fully complimented its author’s name at last.

I dove for the front door, almost tripping on the books scattered across the floor, but I froze when I saw nothing but darkness through the door’s glass.

The barking got louder.

The library rumbled all the more, books falling off of their shelves. Another rumble and I fell to the floor, covering my head in my hands. Whatever was making that barking, let it come, I finally thought.

I screamed at the next sound I heard:

‘Hey, you okay?’

I lifted up my head and there was Harriet. Harriet, and other human beings. An old woman leaving with some books under her arms, a young girl getting off from a seat and putting a book back on a shelf, a kid walking towards the exit with a picture book open. Not a single book lay on the floor.

So after that incident, I was no longer the joker I was. I could barely even stand to listen to them. In fact, when one of my friends asked if I wanted to hear a “shaggy dog story”, I fainted.

Oh wait.