Monday, October 6, 2014

Poetry Today: Trends and Traditions 16
The Halloween Gathering 2014

Compiled and Formatted by Anthony Servante


Welcome, readers, to our first Halloween poetry column. I bid a special thanks to those poets here with us today, for they have honored my blog with the requisite scares and horrors necessary to make our premiere effort into the All Hallow's Eve spirit a pleasingly grotesque one. Lemmy Rushmore melds a visceral dread into his works, Coralie Rowe's works are a study in sinister psychology, DS Scott digs into the cemetery of deathly images, Lori R. Lopez draws a fine line between the macabre and the whimsy, Brande Barrett utilizes the haunting and surreal images of her photography to capture some haunting poetry, and Roger Cowin impresses us with a masterful skill at weaving old and mythical terrors into an accessible style of writing. Give up a light applause for our poets this month, but not too loud, for you don't want to stir the creatures that slither throughout the darkness that surrounds our poems. Shhhhh. Proceed with caution. 

Lemmy Rushmore


Lemmy Rushmore is a mechanic by trade and father of three who occasionally dares dabble in the world of words. Until recently unpublished, his pieces touch on many topics, but tend to lean toward the darker side of those things encountered daily. Ranging from emotionally dark to horror, some of his work can be seen in the anthologies We are Dust and Shadow, Demonic Possession, and No Sight for the Saved, which features the superbly dark art of Niall Parkinson. All have been released by James Ward Kirk Publishing and are now available. In addition he will be lucky enough to be included along with a great many truly talented writers and poets among the pages of the anthologies Hell II: Citizens, Cellar Door III: Animals, Indiana Horror Review 2014, The Grays, and Bones III, all coming soon from the great team at James Wark Kirk Publishing. His newest work can be viewed on the Facebook page, Parkinson Rushmore Project as he is currently involved in a unique collaboration with the extraordinarily talented artist, Niall Parkinson...

Facebook page....

Parkinson Rushmore Project page....

No Sight for the Saved....

Demonic Possession....

We Are Dust and Shadow....

The Poems: 

just one last dance
though the stench now grows
seems the heart still stays
and only you it knows

though the maggots crawl
it's only you I see
the mind draws blanks
on where I'd rather be

we won't need that leg
that you've lost to rot
we'll still move in step
with every ounce we've got

though on me you ooze
I won't care at all
we shall bother not
over such matters small

I'll hold you tight
so you won't fall apart
I will hold you now
like you've held my heart

in your eyes I'll gaze
though they're sunken deep
and I'll claim the moment
to forever keep

I shall kiss your lips
though they're lifeless lumps
and forever hold you high
though your form now slumps

ever close we'll be
if just one last time
how could such a thing
be misconstrued as crime

although you're dead weight
with such grace you flow
so please grant me a dance
before it's then on I will go....

Copyright © 2014 Lemmy Rushmore All rights reserved.

the gate...

the house was mine
with all within
passed on to me
by fallen kin

a spooky place
all full of dread
a strange unease
throughout it spread

but stay I would
and rifle through
I'd seek and peek
what else to do

was there within
that closet deep
with all those things
he hoped to keep

within the box
that warned keep out
beneath the junk
all strewn about

while scrounging through
'pon it I'd come
and to it's draw
so soon succumb

was penned by hand
and crudely bound
the oddest book
within I'd found

a need to read
and so I did
and to that place
good-bye I'd bid

the gate it was
to worlds below
escape to yon
it could bestow

some simple words
laid out in rhyme
and to this realm
somehow I'd climb

I'd heard of here
now know it's so
and like these flames
through here I flow

the others here
a tortured crew
they dare not speak
but scream they do

the flesh near robbed
by scorching breeze
relent it won't
no matter pleas

the heat surrounds
and us it haunts
within we dance
as us it taunts

it's well we eat
but pain we're fed
though we should fast
we feast instead

the days don't pass
they come and stay
they swallow us
while games they play

the words I spoke
but it don't stop
as for relief
there's not a drop

so harsh this land
too hard it's tasks
it lends no good
yet much it asks

appalling sights
one can't avoid
nor can one dodge
assaults employed

this wretched place
just eats away
and seems as though
I'm here to stay

I'd like to leave
and back I'd go
but not one book
or gate doth show....

Copyright © 2014 Lemmy Rushmore All rights reserved

upon me I gaze to a glorious sight
pitch black I appear 'neath the pale lunar light
clothed just as I came for the fullest effect
was my just reward for the havoc I've wrecked
a moment is savored as minutes are past
I bask in the feeling that vanishes fast
the begging and bleeding,I wish it had stayed
from me still drips the bloody mess that I made
quickly they faded but with tongues never stilled
the screams seized the air as the gallons were spilled
for life and for mercy,they'd plead to no end
but on to the next each and every I'd send
while whining they'd whimper and wish for no more
but more was precisely what waited in store
they'd cower,they'd crouch and then crying they'd crawl
but none would escape for my blade finds them all....

Copyright © 2014 Lemmy Rushmore All rights reserved

Coralie Rowe


C. Rowe is new to the writing scene. Previously a baker by trade, now a mum, Rowe found an interest in writing poetry and has been published in a horror anthology recently.

Facebook page:

The Poems:

Ghoulish Games

Twingey & Cringey
Were two little ghouls
Who liked to play tricks
That were rather cruel

They, would come out
To play late at night
Playing hide & seek
Until the day light

Hiding in coffins
Deep in the ground
Playing with the bones
Of the dead, that they found

Using the fingers
As pick up sticks
Tossing for knuckles
Cringey, picked six

Eyes dried and hard
The best marbles made
A game of croquet
With a skull and a spade

Destroying all peace
And supposed, tranquility
Twingey & Cringey
Run rampant, in all cemeteries

My Lil Pet
I have a little pet, you see
He lives in the very depth of me
Riding along in my insanity
My little friend of immorality

I feel him when my mood swings
Evilness in me, he always brings
He makes me do such nasty things
Like a puppet, he pulls my strings

I see the motions he puts me through
As I slice your lovely skin from you
Taking my time on the job I do
He is a perfectionist, so I must be too

Obeying as he dictates the way
Which with you, I will play
Enjoying watching your mind decay
Whilst your body, I slowly slay

Your screams are music to our ears
With each new pitch, he morbidly leers
Explaining to me how to increase your fears
As your excruciating death slowly nears

My little pet that lives deep inside
Has a very twisted sense of pride
If you cross him, time he'll bide
Until he can take a piece of your hide

A Portrait of Death

In the depths you rot
In the ground you decay
Your skin it withers
As flesh melts away
Your rib cage collapses
As your lungs decompose
Limpid white meat
Hangs from your toes
Insides turn rancid
Bowels become grey
Bugs are rejoicing
As your body frays
Eyes disintegrate
As does your nose
Welcome to death
Your final lifes pose

DS Scott


When D. S. Scott was fourteen, a friend suggested he write a short story. He began writing and immediately took an interest in it. A couple weeks later he finished and was surprised to find how much he enjoyed writing it. In the years since, Scott has written in several genres but has found a particular interest in horror and suspense. He enjoys writing poetry, short stories and has started on a novel. Finding writing to be a creative outlet, he kept with it and followed his goal to publish.

The Poems:

28 Bones - © D. S. Scott - 2014

Now as I separate the skin from meat
I wonder how many bones are in my feet
Here’s one and two, three and four’s the score
I won’t even try to guess how many more
Here’s bone five and here is six
It’s too late to have anything to fix
All five toes I’ve lost to date
I hack out bone seven and then eight
I cut the joints of nine and ten
And have to sever the tendons again
I count on to number eleven
And feel like I’ve gone to heaven
As I reach bone twelve and thirteen
I remember how I got gangrene
All it took was one little boil
When it burst it bled like oil
Soon after walking I felt it in my shoe
That wet sensation of bloody goo
Out came puss of a very dark shade
And then came the awful smell it made
After I reminisce I’ve reached twenty-one
Just a few more and then I’ll be done
I’m out here in the woods and I’m all alone
My pocket knife cuts deeper and I let out a moan
The muscles were strong and very lean
But now there’s barely anything left to be seen
I refuse to let go and accept defeat
I will not let myself be beat
I use my blade to reach twenty-two
With no other options, I don’t know what to do
Now with the next I’m up to twenty-three
Everything’s so bloody, I can barely see
As I reach number twenty-four
I have to stop and admire the gore
And now I’ve found twenty-five
I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be alive
Twenty-six is now almost finished
I have to admit I feel quite diminished
I counted two others at the base of my big toe
What a large number, or it seems so
Unfortunately now I’m bleeding out
Well that’s it, or just about
With one foot gone and the other whole
I’ve counted it all and reached my goal
All is gone of what once had length
But I feel like I’ve regained my strength
With all that hard work I needed to eat
And the taste of that foot just couldn’t be beat

Bloody Bliss - © D. S. Scott - 2014

There is somewhere deep within
Down inside I feel the sin
It tries to hide
But grows inside
I can feel it there
Let it out if I dare
I must get it out
So it can roam about
If I could I would hold on
But my will power is all gone
I no longer care
So I’ll let it tear
Crawling out of me
It asks for all to see
What used to be fresh
Now’s decaying flesh
The skin rips
Teeth crush lips
Bones begin to break
Inside I am awake
My soul has come to life
While body is cut by knife
I can feel the pain
Pumping through each vein
Being passed and sent
To every ligament
The tendons shred
Brain fries in head
With blood everywhere
I like my meat rare
The poor girl lies here
Feeling pain and fear
To death I shall give
So that I may live
I’m letting out my inner beast
It is time for him to feast
With such gory appeal
She will be my next meal
Take a sip of bloody bliss
Oh my God, I’m loving this
With my final attack
I will cut and hack
I’m enjoying it so very much
I swear I will never lose my touch
This girl she weeps and cries
Until she slowly dies
With each and every scream
It makes me want to beam
I look down at her with a smile
This is going to take a while
This will not be fast
I need it to last
With each and every cut
I really wonder what …
Makes her hold on so long
She must be very strong
I really wish they were all like that
I remember where the others are at
With this very thought
I’m glad for what I’ve got
She will be so nice
It’s time for me to slice
Finally I slit her throat
This is what fate wrote
This one was so great
I cannot ever hate
But now that I am done
I have had my fun
Now I feel whole
I am one with my soul
Now I am free …
And that is the key

Cabin Fever - © D. S. Scott - 2014

I came to the middle of nowhere
I wanted to be free
But there’s something I can’t bear
And it still haunts me
Out here in the woods
Away from all the sounds
So far from neighborhoods
But still something hounds
I sit all by myself here
No one else, I’m all alone
In my stomach I feel that touch of fear
And inside I can feel it has grown
I can’t trust my eyes
Their torture is endless
They can hear my cries
But they ignore me in bliss
I can’t make any tears
I can no longer even blink
The pain of it seers
And it brings me to the brink
Always staring
Can’t take them away
Continuous glaring
All night and day
My eyeballs burn
My eyelids feel glued
My stomach begins to churn
And that fear controls my mood
I can’t even sleep
Not even to doze
The agony runs deep
And on it goes
My fingers ache
My knuckles are white
Itching to take
And I just might
Staring at the knife
It rests by my hand
I’d give my very life
Which I can no longer stand
I can’t take my eyes off it
They urge me on
But still I must sit
Until the feeling is gone
Hours pass me by
Days mount up
The fear level is too high
Like an overflowing cup
Finally I burst
I’ve waited so long
I wonder if I’m cursed
But it doesn’t feel wrong
I feel like I’m going insane
I guess I’ve been alone for too much time
I can feel the fear pumping through each vein
And my blood pressure begins to climb
There’s only one way to keep it at bay
It’s drastic but must be done
I have to let it out so it won’t stay
It needs to be set free to run
I pick up the blade
I let out a scream
My stomach calls to be filleted
Or so it would seem
So I begin to cut
And I hack with the cleaver
Now as I stab deeper in my gut
I’ve embraced cabin fever

Lori R. Lopez


Lori R. Lopez wears many hats, literally and otherwise. She is an artist who designs her book covers and illustrates some of her tomes. As an author she writes poems, short stories, novels, children's books and songs, as well as a humorous-slash-serious column called "Poetic Reflections" at Fairy Fly Entertainment. She is a musician, actress, filmmaker, tree-hugger and animal-lover. A vegetarian, her work often contains themes of conservation, animal rights, and the rights of children. Lori unapologetically takes pride in creatively bending and reshaping the rules of writing when it suits her style.

A horror fan since small, she roamed graveyards as a kid and conducted funerals for dead birds, squirrels, insects and spiders. Lori has received various honors for her novels THE FAIRY FLY and AN ILL WIND BLOWS. She was named on an list of "92 HORROR AUTHORS YOU NEED TO READ RIGHT NOW" for WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH 2014. Her books also include CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES, THE MACABRE MIND OF LORI R. LOPEZ, OUT-OF-MIND EXPERIENCES, DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS, POETIC REFLECTIONS I and II: KEEP THE HEART OF A CHILD and THE QUEEN OF HATS; THE MUDPUPPY and THE FOX TROT (based on childhood experiences).


The Poems


by Lori R. Lopez

There was something in the basement . . .
A girl cowered in her bed at night and listened
To a mournfully somber wail that echoed
Through the floor of her room, imprisoned.

A phantom’s moan, a grim horrid sound
Risen between floorboards like a dreadful bane.
Then too was the scratching, an insistent rasp
Of claws on cement, of something in pain.

After tossing side to side, her hair in knots,
Lacey approached the door unable to sleep
And stretched hand to knob in trepidation,
Wondering what secrets the darkness might keep.

Hinges croaked as she padded to a crude set of stairs
And peered toward a gloom denser than Midnight.
Bare feet hugged the steps, which softly groaned,
While she descended the slope filled with fright.

Swatting blind the air, breaking cobweb strands —
Fingers located a length of chain that swung
Wild in the dimness until her fingers grasped
A metal string of balls that from the lightbulb hung.

Illumination didn’t still her drumming heart;
The basement reeked fetid of ancient mold
As if the house, quite recently constructed,
Were possessed by a presence rancid and old.

The sandpaper rakes of talons grew louder
And the baying of haunted moans increased,
Drawing the child to the innermost corner
Where lay the ruins of the frantic deceased . . .

Whatever had beckoned her to its remains
By commotion and noise, an unholy din
That Lacey heard in the bedroom above
As her family slumbered like distant kin.

The floor was cracked, an uneven foundation;
Soon the urgent scrapes would breach a firm seal,
A hardened mantle poured atop the gravesite.
At its final resting place the girl did kneel . . .

To search for a resonant pulse within
The surface that harbored an active spirit
Abiding dormant a lifetime of moons,
Ere a sympathetic soul could hear it . . .

Pawing, scratching, clawing its way out —
Causing fissures to spread, a crust to crumble;
The floor to yield that barred re-entrance
To a world it had craved from a tomb so humble.

The girl placed her palm to the cold cement
And through her flesh rippled an electric surge,
From pent-up energy trapped under the lid
Of a coffer that entrenched a funereal dirge . . .

A woebegone eulogy of festered pathos,
For here lay the shards of an abandoned hound
Long ago interred, love and loyalty forsaken;
Digging out of a hole, not the other way around.

It was now a mere cache of treasured bones
That yearned for a playmate to resurrect the days
When the canine had fur and a flapping tail,
A bark ringing with glee, eyes moist with praise.

In this cellar-keep languished an essence so ripe,
The force emanated beyond Death’s curtain
To summon a companion who wished for a mutt,
And united by kismet their bond was certain . . .

Whittled down to a howl of forlorn despair,
The skeletal frame scrabbled from its cavity
To frolic in the cellar with a lonesome child —
It would be their secret, this morbid depravity.

If her parents only knew how she cherished decay,
Her new friend an assemblage of ruin and rot,
With revulsion would they haul Lacey from the pit,
Her unwholesome pet buried in some faraway plot.

screaming pumpkins

by Lori R. Lopez

What if you woke
And found yourself cursed —
The clock ticking backward
Your reflection unreversed?
If the canary were tweeting
Dead-battery-chirp babble
And you drew only blank tiles
When trying to play Scrabble?

If tricksters arrived
To pelt you with treats
While the sun was still glaring
They swarmed the streets
As if walking dead
But a lot more hyper
Squealing for chocolates
Like a berserk bagpiper

Then the asylum called
To cancel your vacation
So there was nowhere to hide
During the infestation
Of candy munchkins
And drooling rugrats
Until day morphed to night
And was gone to the bats

If things took a dark turn
Down the most awful alley
With a claw-scritching gait
Might the wicked woes sally
From a pit of depression
And the humorous tone
That had once been narrating
Reduce to a moan?

If an element of doom
Waiting around the corner
Waged a plot against you
With the veil of a mourner
To be blamed for such things
That you haven’t done
Condemned, your name tarnished
Though you injured none

If sharp fingers should point
In your general direction
From biased perspectives
That leave no protection
But the affection of those
Who would not forsake
No matter what
False accusers could take

Who denounced your best efforts
And bluntly denied
The good in your heart
That there’s more than one side
Casting doubt upon all
You do or may say
And by holding your tongue
They might wrest it their way

What if they mocked you
For things they knew not
Despite your intentions
The battles you’ve fought
To withstand the darkness
And guard those you cherish
Yet all you’ve achieved
Was dismissed and nightmarish

A barrel of ridicule
Aimed at those you hold dear
As the creeps twisted facts
Until nothing was clear
What if all you’ve endeavored
Would be misconstrued
Your life loudly defamed
The edges unglued

Held at fault for the deeds
And misfortunes of others
For the choices and circumstance
The mistakes and druthers
Belittled for your income
When you’ve given your all
To countless crusades
Then were treated with gall

When all you could be
Is who you’ve been from the start
All you could stand for
What lay in your heart
If the sky opened up
And swallowed you whole
Each word you have uttered
Would speak for your soul

What if they attempted
To erase your path
Obliterate your steps
With an acid bath
Eliminate the respect
The esteem you have earned
Out of an envious desire
To leave you burned

Such rivals and haters
Are prone to attack
In a one-sided war
Aimed at somebody’s back
Heaping lies, innuendos
To damage repute
Until you’re left as bereft
As a knight out of suit

It would be terribly scary
An Un-Hallowed Eve
Should the world turn unkind
Fraught with Make-Believe
If the pigeon flew the coop
The glass wasn’t looking
And stood neither full nor empty
While the crackpot was cooking

So be careful when you get up
Not to choose the wrong side
Of the bed as you climb out
It could be a stormy ride
A cockeyed haywire act
Of teeth-rattling superstition
Complete with mindless intellect
For the price of admission

As you carve your Jack-O-Lanterns
You may hear the pumpkins scream
There might even be some blood
As if you’re having a bad dream
A realm where everything is screwy
And truth is but a lump of clay
What you know is upside-down
And Halloween is not your day.

Brande Barrett


Brande Barrett is a Photograher who specializes in Surreal Digital Landscapes, Seascapes, and Skyscapes. This is her first appearance on the blog as a poet; her photos have graced our pages before and here again they grace her two poems. In the time that I've known her, Brande has shown a resilient spirit and strong will that is reflected not only in her art but her words as well. 

The Poems:

Death and a Poem

Lace curtain quivers 
As your lips touch 
Mine cold, stretched over teeth 
Your eyes search another longingly 
As cool wind echoes 
Through darkened hollows 
Your flesh pressed in passion 
While I linger in crisp silence 
A creaking trap 
Love progresses throughout the night 
Holding her warm body safely in your arms 
As I lay Decomposing 
My last poem It's a pity 
I had so much more to say

The Sad Clown
beneath despairing eyes lips curve down hollowed cheeks breathe out softening sighs tears collect but never cry tragic face locked in paint hardwood memories splintered thought so long ago and far away when laughter held the pain at bay carved expression comprehends at last staring through shop window glass

Roger Cowin


Roger Cowin currently lives in Centerville, IN. He is a lifelong resident of Indiana and his poems his lifelong connection and love for the Midwest. He has worked at Richmond State Hospital for 27 years and has been writing and publishing poetry for 3 decades. He has been influenced by writers as diverse as Eliot and Lovecraft, Joyce and Stephen King. He is the author of the poetry collections, “Passing Through Darkness & Other Poems” and “Succulent Flesh,” published by JWK Fiction.
He can be reached at

The Poems: 

It Waits

Night comes on steadily, creeping long shadow
across the well-manicured lawn,
growing deeper by the minute.
The dark trees rustle their branches,
trembling ominously from their roots.
Something is lurking there,
in the shadows,
in the night,
hiding among the tall grass,
waiting for me to fall,
into the trap of sleep.
waiting for me to become lost
inside my own private dreamworld.
I must stay awake,
I must stay awake
my eyes grow so weary.

Roger Cowin

They’re Coming to Get You Barbara
“They’re coming to get you Barbara.”
Flesh eating ghouls with a taste for girl.
They’ll feast on your spleen,
Grind your bones to gruel.
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide,
Doubt you’ll make it out alive.

“They’re coming to get you Barbara.”
An old farmhouse appears just up ahead,
But no one’s inside but the living dead.
What so briefly held the promise of help,
Leads instead to a night in Hell.

“They’re coming to get you Barbara.”
A brother’s mischievous jest,
Gone irrevocably wrong.
Now brother dearest lies just as dead
As the animated corpse that split open his head.
But a brother’s love can never die,
Which is why he wants to eat your eyes.

“They’re coming to get you Barbara.”
Run, run, run as fast you can,
But you’ll never outrun the boogeyman.
Sorry Barbara dearest
But I fear your time has run out
Very soon now, you’ll be disemboweled.

From "Succulent Flesh"

The Hungerer

Born of darkness,
Child of the endless night,
Undead witness
Clinging to the fading light.

An appetite for living flesh
Compels you from your restless grave,
The thirst for human blood
Inflames your mind with violent rage.

Locked inside your tomb, a thousand years
Of nights have passed since last you fed
But tonight belongs to the dead.
The Hungerer comes to feast upon your fears.

Originally appeared in No Sight For The Saved (2014 JWK Fiction)

The Coming of the Old Ones

Under primordial skies,
Ancient aeons ago, the Deep Ones
Raised their twisted, batrachian limbs
In subjugation to their mad,
Malevolent gods.

In darkness they watch,
Corrupt gods from the dead past,
Dreaming while awake,
They await their summons
From the Hunger beast who never sleeps.

The naked eye cannot perceive
Those strange dimensions
Where weird beings wait and watch
For their opportunity to wrench
This world from humanity’s grasp.

The Laughing Magician opens
The forbidden tome locked for millennia,
He recites from the Passages of the Damned,
His sanity broken
As Hell pours into his sanctuary.

The Abomination of Desolation,
The dweller between the stars,
Out of time, out of space,
Comes with his screaming hordes
To rape the world.

Deep beneath the earth, generals plot
Defensive scenarios to wrest
Victory from the mouth of defeat.
They die writhing in agony
At the teeth and jaws of Hell’s hounds

Our gilded cities fall like so much
Chaff before the rising storm.
Our fearful weapons of mass slaughter
Are like unto pebbles tossed in the ocean.
The earth is consumed in its own fire.

Those who resist perish,
They are the lucky ones.
All others are forced into servitude,
Slaves to the Old Gods,
They pray in vain for death.

The mongrel races of man
Undulate in sensuous celebrations.
The foul Tcho-Tcho offer up
Obscene sacrifices to Lloigor and Zhar,
Feasting on the flesh of their fellow men.

In his house at R’lyeh,
Dread Cthulhu opens his eyes,
Rises from his ocean tomb.
The very planet itself shudders.
An Old Evil is reborn.

Originally appeared in Indiana Horror Review 2013 (JWK Fiction)


Thank you, readers, for joining us this Halloween month. The Servante of Darkness Blog Poetry Today column is always on the lookout for new poets and always keeps the door open to our poets from past columns. Next month we want to invite you to submit two poems: one, mimetic (a poem about writing poetry), and two, mimesis (a poem about the outer world). Submissions can be sent to: titled "November Poetry". 

Till next month, keep the windows filled with darkness.

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Brande Barrett

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Andrew D. Blacet (Words) Brande Barrett (Art)

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Description: Here are poems for those who prefer to linger among the ruins, to listen for ghosts in leaning doorways or the driplines of caves; for those who appreciate the incipient dread of long shadows, the dark flourish of root and branch, the reflections of stars in wet sand. These are poems for the reader who does not require every puzzle to be solved, every monster to be dragged from its well and thrust into withering light. For those seeking reassurance from the familiar or mundane, look elsewhere. These are the thud of moist earth on the lid of a casket, the suggestion of half-formed faces budding in the boulders of a cliff – these are the occupants of the ditch.


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