the dance
it's just voodoo
a most curious vampire
dungeon destiny
deadly dose





Debbie Angelosanto

There you are my trusted friend
I knew you would come
To see me off at the very end
Before my death march to the beat of a drum

If not for you I would be forlorn
For tomorrow my life is done
When the evening becomes dawn
As the day rises with the sun

You know I have healed the sick
With powers given me that I do not understand
They leer at me and poke me with sticks
As their superstitions have gotten out of hand

They banish, brand, and accuse me
After all I have done to help them
Why couldn't they? Why didn’t they see?
Why must my soul be condemned?

My feline friend whose emerald eyes
Stare at me with such devoted love,
You have also suffered from fear and lies
Branded a demon, imp, thereof

With your black, silken coat
You must go out into the night
They must not see you about
or they will quiver with fright

Do not be trapped as I am
Tomorrow to the stake I must go
And die I must for I am damned,
You must escape our ignorant foe.

Though I am gone, do not despair
Because our magic will always prevail,
We are not evil and you must prepare
With the glint in your eyes and twitch of your tail

As the ashes rise up and I am but dust
Look for a girl with light, auburn hair
my magic will flow into her, whom you can trust
and once again another life we will share.


Artwork: Mia (oil pastels) by Debbie Angelosanto








the dance
Debbie angelosanto

The great house loomed over a massive rolling lawn that greeted the sea to its entryway. As I stood before the mansion, I remembered seeing it’s facade in so many movies from the golden age of Hollywood. It was in houses like this where Katherine Hepburn chased Cary Grant, where Greta Garbo wanted to be alone. Where Carole Lombard teased William Powell.

But I wasn’t in a old black and white movie. I was in technicolor. The mansion was inviting me into a world that I had only dreamt about. It was calling me home.

I walked towards the massive summer “cottage” as they called it in those days. My eyes were blinded by the sun-bleached glare of the white marble facade.

The smell of the fresh green grass lingered in the air along with the scent of salty sea. My face was caressed by a cool breeze, and I heard the sea gulls cry as they flew and perched on the ledges, leering at me, lending a evil eye to my entrance into the familiar, yet unfamiliar.

I went inside and the contrast from outdoors to indoors shifted slowly from a wall of bright light to long shadows. When my eyes adjusted I could see a grand staircase lit by candlelight. I could hear the strains of old songs, songs I had heard in those old movies of long past. I felt as though I was back there, back where I fantasized about going to a society party, or to a nightclub where couples danced cheek to cheek and were serenaded by romantic torch songs by soul songstresses such as Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald.

I mounted the stairs slowly, taking each step carefully, unsure of what lay before me. I felt detached, as if in a dream. What was happening?

Off to the right was a darkened room. I found a light switch as I entered through the doorway. A mirror as large as the wall that contained it was before me.

I looked at my reflection. I was not in my usual jeans and tee shirt, nor was my graying hair tied back in a scrunchy, which was how I usually wore it.

I looked at myself, yes, it was me, but I was twenty years younger, but not in my time and not in the time as I remembered two decades before.  I was young, but young in the era of my grandmother. I was wearing a floor-length, white, satin gown with an overdress of rectangular, chiffon panels outlined with satin. At my feet I wore silver lined, white Mary Jane’s. My hair was coiffed in vibrant, auburn waves, around my neck hung a strand of white pearls. I wore matching earrings.

I looked like a movie star from the golden age of Hollywood, it was a beautiful intoxication, but this wasn’t me. I needed to get home. I needed to get back . . . to my own reality. I took off the gown, first the overdress then the gown. They fell to the floor. Instead of seeing my old self in the mirror I saw the same, strange woman with the dress still on. What was happening? I disrobed again and again, finally tearing the dress off of my body, only to find the same strange person staring back at me, wearing the same finery and beautiful, flawless gown.
I was trapped. Was I doomed? Would I never see my husband, my family again?

Although my face did look young, my soul felt old, older than I really was, older than I ever imagined. I was tired. I wanted to go home. 

There was someone behind me. I felt a presence, yet I did not see a reflection in the mirror. I turned. It was my dance partner, but this was not a party I wanted to attend.

I was to dance in my fantasy. I was to dance in this new - old, a world I had dreamt of being a part of . . . at the sacrifice of all I held dear.

My partner was death.

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

~ Emily Dickinson




Artwork: The Dance (acrylic) by Debbie Angelosanto


it's just voodoo
Paul angelosanto

You said "It's just Voodoo."
Before your skin turned blue
There's nothing left to do
But burn what's left of you
Because the grave will never hold you.


a most curious vampire
Paul Angelosanto

Lara Kingsley was a most curious vampire. Meaning that Lara behaved strangely as well as being highly inquisitive. Lara was often known to state that she was a bat without a belfry. It was a thing Lara learned to say upon becoming a night being just seven days before her eleventh birthday arrived.

All her years from then on were oddities of the occult assortment. Once she played leapfrog with a prince who had been cursed to be a frog. Lara wrote jokes for funeral directors. For fifty years she was pen pals with a chiroptologist.

Her deeply odd undead life changed most dramatically seven nights before her four - hundred and fifty - third birthday. Lara was chasing black butterflies in the rain when she saw the strange smiling man.

The man had little in discernable traits. Not overly handsome, certainly not unattractive at all. Short not really, yet not at all was he tall. Ethnicity indeterminate. Gait slightly casual. Stubble struggled on his chin and neck. All that stood out was the long jagged scar below his soft pallid right eye.

He wore an unnecessarily long dark coat with black gloves. Despite the weather he was not the slightest bit wet.

Lara knew it meant that the stranger possessed magic.

“My name is Marvis. Do you like candy? I have some in my van. It’s parked over there,” he said while stabbing his pinky finger in the direction of the parking lot at the bottom of the hill.

Lara smiled sweetly.

“What’s your name sweet little girl?” Marvis asked in voice that had just begun to quiver.

“My name belongs to me. You will belong to me too.”

Marvis laughed. “I don’t know what you are, but its plain to see you’re not quite human. I only just discovered the world of the mystic. I was scared to do this before I found that book.”

“Which book?” Lara asked. Remember, she was the curious type.

“A book filled with words of power. It’s in my van too. I’ll show it to you when I’m done with you.” He wiped his mouth. The words tasted so good to Marvis once he dared to finally utter them.

“Where did you find this book mister Marvis?” She queried in her young, so young voice.

“Well the truth is it found me. I was praying to not be what I am while walking along the downtown. Then I saw it. It was just lying there in a cardboard box next to a trash barrel. Nothing ever spoke to me the way that book did.” Malignant rapture distorted his face.

Lara released the butterfly she had just caught in her left hand. The long winged insect fluttered between the slow drips from the crying clouds. “Let’s go to your van.”

They idly walked down the muddy hill. “The town won’t pave the road to that old castle. It’s a shame. Perhaps I’ll take over this place once I learn to make myself rich. I think I saw some words that would conjure wealth in that book.”

Lara said nothing.

They got to the van. It was the only vehicle in the small under paved parking lot. A miserable solitary street light and some stars offered the only feeble illumination.

He opened the door. Before Marvis could say or do anything Lara ripped his throat open with her fangs. She drank his life away. His power was laughable compared to hers but that book he mentioned sounded quite intriguing.

She wriggled her slender form past the corpse of Marvis.

The van was filthy. Reeked of things best forgotten.

There it was a beautiful book made of alien leather with obsidian driven deep into its cover and binding. Dull colors twisted it. The unnatural volume crawled with imaginings unuttered by any world Lara knew. It was a tome from somewhere that could never be, yet it existed regardless of that fact.

Lara smiled and opened the book.

The police found the van the next day. It was empty, completely totally absolutely empty. No seats, no bodies, no dashboard, nothing. It disturbed the officers. They made no comment as it was impounded.
No one ever saw Lara again.

Yet whenever it rains at night near the castle where Lara used to sleep, butterflies still disappear.


dungeon destiny

Sandy Bernstein

Here in the depths of the dungeon
I dream of death.
I dig in the dirt
Down deep,
Desperate to depart,
But this dismal prison
So dank, dark
And desolate
Plays tricks with my mind
And stabs at my heart,

The way she did,
My devoted lover,
Who dared to ditch me,
Tossing me aside for another.
It was then I did a dastardly deed,
And shot them dead,
But not before she bit me.

Here in the depths of the dungeon
A cavern of decay and death,
I await my transition
From mortal to immortal,
With dreams of devouring
Drops of crimson delight.

But for now I must sleep
Wrapped in a cocoon of silky darkness
Before I take flight
And rise anew
To join other malevolent creatures
Of lust and power
Darkness and death,
And call this dreary dungeon destiny
My home.

deadly dose
sandy bernstein

The Halloween party was in full swing again as I wondered through the empty rooms looking for my killer. All these years later and I still hadn’t a clue. Was it Tony, the goofy, but quiet kid who secretly liked me? Was it Billy, my boyfriend? Was it Chrissy, my nemesis? We were in our senior year of high school that year. Most of us were heading off to college. Not me. I’d be working in my father’s bakery until I could go to culinary school the following year. I didn’t want to go, but I never got the chance to tell him.

Here in Billy’s house again, it was Halloween 1976 - yet it wasn’t. It was forty years later. I had come every Halloween to learn what had happened. Rarely did I see any change in the sequence of events, but sometimes I’d spot a minor detail I had missed before.

Billy now lived here with his wife and kids after he had inherited the house from his parents. He was sleeping upstairs. I could haunt him as a joke. He would find it funny. He had such a great sense of fun. But there was no need. I only wanted to know who had spiked my drink and why.

So I wandered from room to room in the small colonial, stopping in the living room where kids were partying, listening to Aerosmith on the stereo. I saw them all so clearly dressed in their cool costumes. Billy was a headless confederate soldier from the civil war. He complained how hot and cumbersome the uniform was, especially since his head was tucked under the collar. I still don’t know how he breathed in that thing, but he had cut tiny holes enough to see. He stumbled around awkwardly. It was hilarious. He was his usual cheerful, funny self. We always got along, so I ruled him out as the killer. Besides, I never thought him capable.

What about Tony?

Scenes whizzed by as I watched him approached the punch bowl again in the dining room. I was seated on the opposite side of the room. It was late with only a few couples dancing to Barry White’s sultry voice. I was dressed as Morticia Adams and was about to take off my long black wig when Tony offered me the punch and asked me to dance. I declined. I was hot and winded from dancing and waiting for Billy to get me some water. Tony then hit on Melissa, another girl he had the hots for, presumably. She took the punch. She danced with him and they seemed happy. Hmm. . .  Probably not him.

That left Chrissy. I looked around then remembered she had left early. She had had a fight with her boyfriend Jack. He was an idiot, controlling and verbally abusive. No one liked him.

Then I noticed something different. In all the years I’d come back, reliving the same scene over and over, I rarely picked up on anything significant. But now I saw Jack for the first time as he entered from the kitchen just as someone came down the stairs.

It was Billy. He walked right past Jack into the kitchen to get a drink then stopped in the adjoining dining room where the buffet table was against the window with the punch bowl in the center. Billy was out of place in this dated scene.

Few kids lingered about. Suddenly Jack appeared in front of Billy, who didn’t seem to notice him. Billy stood in a daze, gazing out the window. I wondered what he was thinking as I noticed he was dressed in his briefs. His hair was gray and mussed from sleep. I remember him with long brown hair, sporting a thin moustache. He was so handsome. And I recall getting lost in his long soft kisses. A sweet memory.

Suddenly Jack started questioning people about Chrissy. Had they seen her? No one had. I assumed he knew she’d left. I had stood with my back against the open archway facing the living room that night. Now I stood opposite, facing Jack as he dipped a plastic cup in the punch bowl then dropped something in it. He saw me from behind, the old me. I was dressed in black with the long wig, similar to Chrissy’s costume. She was Elvira. I suppose he could have mistaken me for her. He approached me from behind and handed me the cup. I never saw his face. All he said was, “Here ya go babe.” I took the drink thinking someone was kind enough to get me some punch. I was still waiting for Billy.

I drank the deadly dose. Moments later, I felt my muscles contract. It was painful. Then I became nauseous and started throwing up. Billy was at my side as the EMTs arrived. The faces blurred. Later I started convulsing and gasping for air. I might have been in the hospital by then. I don’t know. But I do know that the last person I saw was my beloved Billy. He had long since taken off that stupid Jacket. His hair was mussed up then too from the costume as tears ran freely down his cheeks. He whispered, “I love you, Jen,” and kissed me goodbye for the last time.

I saw one last flash of Jack as I floated down the corridors. He was standing in the emergency room with the others. He turned to the wall and cried, “Oh dear God. What have I done?” Then he ran out of the hospital. The coward.

I saw it all play out for the first time. Billy came out of his trance slowly then I realized I had connected to his thoughts as he relived that night. I watched him ascend the stairs back to his bedroom, back to his wife. I could have been sleeping next to him.

I also realized that Jack had thought I was Chrissy. He had only wanted to drug her so he could take advantage of her, but somehow he’d gotten the wrong drug from his father’s veterinary clinic. He had grabbed rat poisoning instead of a sedative. Strychnine. The animal clinic had had a rodent problem due to a renovation. And Jack, well he was in and out of the office so quickly he simply grabbed the wrong bottle.

Thanks Jack.

But thanks to Billy, I now knew where Jack lived, across town in one of those mini mansions. He had done well for himself as a sleazy used car salesman. No, he didn’t marry Chrissy. She’d moved far away and no one ever heard from her again. But Jack was close. Close enough to haunt.

Yes, I will give him a good fright tonight. A good deadly dose of his own medicine before I can finally rest in peace.

Sheila Foley


The ghost me, who will she be?
Will she frequent museums and galleries?
Or invite late artists to spirited teas?
Will she haunt a seaside B & B?

The ghost me, what will she do?
Will she sneak into churches and skip through the pews?
Or start a shade choir that just sings the blues?
Will she take an eternal ghost ship cruise?

The ghost me
Guess we'll wait and see.

Artwork: All images, except where noted, are enhanced computer photos/images by Sandy Bernstein