Hallowed Winter 2: An @hallowedwinter Instagram Art Challenge

Although this challenge, created and hosted by @hallowedwinter on Instagram, focused on visual artists, I’m participating (after the fact) as a “literary artist.” The challenge provided nine prompts for works of art that cross Halloween and Christmas, to be completed between Dec. 1 and 31, 2018. I’m joining the fun two years late!

1. Abominable Snow Man

His corneas cracked like ice as coal was hammered into each eye, its chalky residue coagulating on his clammy retinas. A carrot, drilled like a screw into the ruins of his hacked-off nose, jutted out crookedly from uneven, slippery layers of cartilage. Beneath it, more coal: a prosthetic mouth where his lips had been torn off with pliers. In his sides, fire irons, run smoothly into him while still searing, after his arms had been cleaved and discarded. Frosty smirked malevolently, admiring his creation, and rhetorically asked, “Still think it’s fun to build snowmen?”

2. Winter’s Wolves

Stringy shreds of her calves tethered her to my chops as she seized hysterically, her ligaments tearing like tissue paper. Steam was rising from my muzzle as crumbs from my snack released the girl’s body heat like a ghost. And just as her veins finished relieving themselves in the snow, I spotted something: another girl, compulsively photographing herself with comically puckered lips. Turning, she exclaimed, “Aww, a wolf!” with obnoxious enthusiasm. “C’mon, boy,” she said as she approached me, “I’m not gonna hurt you.” I love when they make it that easy.

3. GingerDEAD House

Perky gumdrops and whimsical chocolate window shutters belied the massacre that had taken place inside the house: 15 dead on arrival. Swaths of frosting were caked on the graham cracker walls beneath an obscene mosaic made from half-eaten, half-regurgitated morsels of cookies. Papa Gingerbread’s edible bowtie now hugged a headless neck, and Mama Gingerbread’s legs had been stomped into powder. Other family members had been shanked with toothpicks, some disturbingly assaulted with their own cinnamon candy buttons. Police remain baffled.

4. You Will Be Visited by Three Ghosts

Detonating cluster munitions of unconfessed sins in my conscience, the apparition transported me to the moment of my first kill – an excruciating memory. Then, handing me off like a baton to the next phantom, he evaporated. What I saw next incinerated my guilt: My “confirmed” kill was still alive! Gusts of fury spun my mind in a tornado of resentment, and I devised a delicious re-slaughter plan. Just then, the specter of tomorrow trapped me and showed me something that boiled my bile: In three days, I’m going to be killed by my onetime kill.

5. Killer Toys

With the ferocity of a feral cat released from a trap, the nutcracker came soaring out of Santa’s bulging bag of toys, goatee tickling his chest as his oral pincers were spread and locked on-target: Santa’s other sack. Making contact with Santa’s velour pants, dead-center, he reached behind his back and pulled down on the lever to strike, biting Santa with the industrial-strength level of pressure only revenge enables. Santa released an effeminate squeal, and then the nutcracker neutered the jolly pedophile with his festive bayonet, saving countless children.

6. Snow Sirens

I was so aroused I felt high, and the opiate of infatuation was being overpowered by the amphetamine of lust as an animalistic impulse to take her trounced my survival instincts. I knew how treacherous she was, but my loins were salivating at every note she sang – the siren’s song, a supernatural melody concocted to stupefy. All I had to do was get across this frozen lake, and I could have her. Ten steps, at most, not impossible. But halfway across, another siren – wizened and snaggletoothed – sprang through the ice and pulled me under.

7. Merry Krampus

Like lice gnawing on my follicles, the devilish brutes on my back wrenched my fur to keep from splatting on the sidewalk 40 feet below as I leapt from one rooftop to another, harvesting degenerates. Shorn of their darling nightgowns, and swiftly succumbing to hypothermia, the children all donned the same red stripes on their generously padded skeletons: trenches I had dug along their spines with my whipping branch. A mere beast of burden, I must carry these wretches to their new home in the underworld; they earned it.

8. “Shivers” the Clown

Festering abscesses swarmed his jawline like barnacles, nourished by the continuous exchange of septic grime from his incessant clawing at his neck with unhygienic talons. His mechanical jittering – an allergic reaction to sobriety – resembled a wind-up toy, his feet shuffling sprightly but aimlessly. “Shivers” would do anything for a fix when he got like this, no matter how humiliating; for the promise of an all-expenses-paid blackout, he’d be anyone’s clown. Why? He broke life’s most important rule: “Don’t get high on your own supply.”

9. New Year’s Day of the Dead

Like orange sherbet and vanilla, a two-toned spool of my tabby cat’s fur was retrieved from the taxidermist to embroider “KH” and “LH” on matching, gothic formalwear for Lolita and me. (Even in the afterlife, I force her into outfits.) Our gowns were laid at our adjoining graves to celebrate the Day of the Dead on Celtic New Year’s Eve, Samhain (Halloween). Beside Lolita’s intestine-friendly pâté (lest she soil her pretty dress), a case of Zero Sugar Monster energy drinks (I never drink … tequila) was laid for me. And thus we sojourned among the living.