Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 10

              The story of Captain Hook


From my shelf, I removed the notebook when a picture fell to the floor.

It was a picture of my grandmother standing beside her house. I don't  
know why I had that picture inside the Mead composition notebook. It
was probably because I had nowhere else to put it, and it just ended up
in
there. How I missed that house, I thought as I reflected back through
the years. Hanging out in there was an escape for me as a child. Each
room was hauntingly original in every facet of its primal structure, and
yet aside from the attic which clearly highlights the main fabric of this
tale, I now feel a great urgency to mention the other rooms as well.

Before you could enter the house, you would first have to walk along the
street while following a lengthy row of neatly trimmed six-foot hedges,
which encompassed the property to an awaiting path. You would then
enter in through a small archway and follow that path around to the side
door, or you could simply come in through the porch. As you walked into
the house from the backyard, you could only go up or down a narrow

staircase. Upstairs is where you would find the television room, two
bedrooms,
the bath room, the foyer, and the sick room, where my paternal
grandfather passed away from tuberculosis in the spring of 1970.



This room was painted a cerulean blue in the late 1950's, and remained that color until
the house was demolished in September of 1979. After the death of my grandfather, my
grandmother began putting my things in there, and from 73’ to 79’ it was called the blue
room. In the left corner was my Radio Flyer wagon I got when I was three, and on the
right wall hung my Flexible Flyer sled, which was my father's when he was a young boy.




I had my Johnny Lightning racing track complete with cars along with my G.I. Joe's,
Battling tops, etch-a-sketch, Silly Putty in an egg, Play Doh, crayons, and a Slinky.

And last but not least, one brand new unopened tube of super elastic bubble plastic
that some kids would abuse by inhaling its contents, simply for the joy of acting stupid.



                                                                        
                                                            

I had lots of toys and things I seldom played with, so everything in that room would
be considered fairly new. Living life was easy, and I had a glorious future ahead
of me. I was learning as much as I could and absorbing everything. Not only
about my schoolwork and classes, but the very aspect of women in general.


                                                                            Pg 47
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It is best if I do not dwell near this river. Though it appears to be moving calmly
and does look peaceful, it is filled with broken glass. Some may even attest that
within the water flowing past the walls of its embankment lies the answer to all
of man's woes. In truth, that river is filled with skeletons. As sweet and refreshing
as it may very well be, the water is infected with sorrow. Let's just say, it has
turned into something far worse than blood. What was once a blessing had
become a curse, and I, would find the heart of true madness. 


Unlike most residential homes, the dining room was located toward the back of the
house in the cellar. I could still see the gypsum board with its manila-colored face
paper adorning each wall. It was smooth and shiny, like shellac had been applied
somewhere during its manufacture. All the various hues that came streaming

in on sunlit wings coated the walls in its grace. At around midday the sun would
illuminate that room like no other, turning a simple dining area into a Florida room.
And at the end of the day come sundown, the sun would impart to it an impressive
orange stain. Only for a few minutes could that scene be witnessed before rapidly
losing its lustre. Then disappear as it would into the gloom of the evening twilight.


Often would I stay there in the summer months. The light green guest room, that at
one time was a playroom for my aunt, my uncle, and eventually my dad, whose old
wooden bed still withstood the test of time. To the left of the bed, near the radiator
was my uncle Bobs Bakelite radio. This transistor radio was special because it had
vacuum tubes, and after a few minutes had passed, the whole box would turn orange.

How I loved that radio, whatever became of it I would never know.


Grandma always kept the heat down, and so upon awaking I would usually have to
remove seven or eight wool blankets or heavy quilts just to get out of bed and relieve
myself. In the morning, grandma made breakfast like no one else. First, she removed
a coffee can from the freezer that she poured the bacon fat in. Then she put
a small
amount into the black cast-iron pot that looked like a relic from medieval France. 

She made eggs over easy that made my stomach gurgle, and believe me when I tell you,
they were the best-tasting
eggs on the planet. Nowadays people are eating healthier.
Sugar, salt and fat are all moderated, and nothing really has that much taste anymore.


One dark and windy day in the fall of 1970, my father comes back from New Jersey.
He is carrying a box, and I was getting ready to go across the street to see my friend,
Harmony. Although, we only knew each other for a few short months, by the start of
the
new year, we would be inseparable.



“Take a look at him, Kathy,” my dad says to my mom as
I saunter into the living room.
“I got ‘em for my mother.”

(((Removing the lid)))

“Ohhhh, he's adorable.”

“Wow,” I said, as my eyes lit up. “A baby Bulldog.”

“Come on, let's go and surprise grandma.” said my father.

My grandmother loved him, and we named him Sam. That dog would watch
our every move and when he got excited, he would shake his ass like he was
doing the Hucklebuck, and scuffle around snorting. He was a great dog, but
after putting seven people in the hospital due to his over protective nature,
he was totally confined to the basement where he would live out his days.

Then one day my grandmother found out from a very reliable source that my father,
wanting to save money, bought a dog that had been interbred, causing derangement.

The year was 1978.


“You son of a bitch,” she screamed. “You bought me a sick dog.
That's why he's crazy. That's why he tries to kill everybody who comes into this house.
This, this. . . Trap. How could you?”


“He's eight years old ma, I think his bitin' days are over.”

“They're not over. Not by a long shot. As long as he's still breathin', they're not over.”
“So what do ya want me to do?”

*She gave him an angry stare*

“You know what, gimme the dog. Come on Sam,” he says,
in a gingerly tone, reassuring the animal that he would be
taken outside for a while to do his business, and then return.


“What are you doing?”

“I'm gonna solve a problem.


                                                                            Pg 48
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“Let's go.”

“Where are you taking him?”

“I'm takin' him to the backyard.”

“For what reason?”

“Cause that's where I'm gonna shoot 'em. C'mon Sam!”

“You're gonna do no such thing. Get away from him. You're crazier than he is!”

Every time my father left, my grandmother grew another grey hair.
She then looked at Sam sitting on the floor.

“This is all your fault. Yeah, look at me with that face. Your fault. . . BASTARD.”

Sam looked back at her with an expression of confusion
and
sorrow, before attempting to wiggle his tail stump.

As if that would make it all better again.


I will never forget the evening of May 25th, 1979. I went to visit my grandmother and was
helping her with several chores that needed to be done around the house, when finally, it's
time for the CBS evening news with Walter Cronkite. We watched in horror as he spoke
mournfully of both the passengers and crew members of American Airlines flight 191. The
worst disaster in U.S. history claiming 271 lives. Around ten O'clock I went downstairs to
the basement and was preparing to take Sam out to do his business when I realized he would
not budge. As I lifted his head, I realized he had passed away. If not for that terrible plane
crash, I strongly doubt I would have been able to recall the exact day of his untimely demise.


Considering that my grandparent's house was built in 1923, almost everything inside it was
original. Even the toilet bowl was a marvel to behold. Not one of those swishy bowls you
see today that uses a quart of water and barely flushes. You could flush anything down this
contraption, and it'll be halfway to the Atlantic Ocean before you could wipe your nose.

That was because in those days every household toilet bowl was connected to a Flushometer.
A steel handle you knock down to flush and the bowl just keeps flushing. Nowadays, only
commercial enterprises are permitted to use toilets without a tank, and water meters are
installed to monitor our water usage.

Toward the back of the kitchen was a food pantry
and above it, an
old decorative wooden vent. On the vent was this antiquated cobweb.


It was unlike any spider web I had ever seen before. Two inches thick and totally opaque,
it was a fascinating thing to look at. Whenever I arrived at her doorstep, part of my visit
would always entail looking up to see if it was still there. When I was five years old, I
asked my grandmother if she knew how long it's been up there. She replied, “that's
been
up there longer than your father's alive.” And so it began,
my fascination with the past
and with time. Gently, I blew from my lips a slow but steady
current of air, which would
find it seconds later. This shock wave sent trillions of atoms
coursing through its
insubstantial mass of ligaments that held it all together like a
decaying piece of
old tissue, which seemed to be dangling from its own invisible threads.


“Let me dampen a rag and clean it,” she said.
“No,” I screamed out, and she stopped.


Then it was up the winding staircase to the attic, where I would watch first
run episodes of
Star Trek as they aired in an atmosphere of total peace.



                                                                                 

Nothing disturbed the tranquil order of things here, for as time
rolled on in the outside world,
it didn't seem to move in the house.



Sitting on the sofa with my legs outstretched to the hassock, I watched television
in living color and everything was wonderful. Sometimes I'd lift the lid on the old
footstool to find that Grandmother had left candy inside of it. No homework, nor
house chores impeding would keep me from watching, “Get Smart” after school.

Always talking on that amazing shoe phone.

The mild buzzing of an old electric Kit Cat klock kept me company.
Those eyes, ever watching my every move with tail swaying and a smile.

*He seemed to enjoy it too*




                                                

I could go anywhere I wanted in here,
and Grandmother let me come and go as I pleased.


                                                                            Pg 49
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By the window and to the right was a trap door painted pink. Thirty inches high and twenty-four
inches wide were its dimensions. With a small flashlight that was always on hand, I turned the
wooden peg and pulled open the door. On my hands and knees, I crawled looking for treasure.
Maybe they put something new up here I can rummage through. Though I rarely found anything
that wasn't already up there. An old Bamberger's box that hadn't been moved in years. Four tins
of Horn & Hardart coffee that had an assortment of lead sinkers in each of them. An unopened
can of O-Cedar Mop polish, etc. On the wall hung a curved sickle with a bright red handle.

I can remember asking my grandmother why she hung it there, and her reply was simply this:
“I hide it from your father. If he sees it, he's gonna take it, and then I'm shit outta luck.”


In the adjacent room was the same type of hidden door painted the color of bittersweet to match
the walls as well. In that closet were twelve shoe boxes, some of which read, Crowley's
shoes
for ladies and Church's English shoes for men, along with a few other boxes and biscuit
tins
of ages past. All the way in the back was a mahogany box that to this day has me mystified.


There was no lock or latch but rather a very distinct type of old-fashioned lip seal. One day I
decided I had to look in this box, so I dragged it over to where the particles of lint and other
foreign matter could be seen hanging gracefully in the sunny air of daylight and proceeded
to pull it open. What I found was an astonishing collection of old books in mint condition by
a man named Edward Gorey. I can remember four titles in particular. The Doubtful Guest,
The Curious Sofa, The Hapless Child, and my all-time favorite, The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

A child's book of the alphabet where every page turned is a black and white illustration of a
different child in a precarious situation. “A” is for Alice who fell down the stairs, and so on.


 
                                                                     

So captivated was I in its spell that I would read it every day after coming home from school,
before finally doing the unthinkable. Yes, I took the book to class. I was in second grade at
the
time, and my teacher was so shaken by it that I was taken from my classroom and put in
a special
room until my father arrived. All the boys liked it and thought I was cool, while the
girls thought
it was a sick and twisted book that should have been burned, rather than sold.

Yes, the minds of girls were certainly different than the
minds of boys, and in the end, I would even be scolded
by Harmony for not exercising common sense.

*And I can still hear my father lamenting about it in the car
*

“Twenty minutes ago, I got in a warm shower.
No sooner do I step in, does the phone ring.
It's your mother on the line, screamin' like she was on fire.
She sounded so distraught, I thought someone died.
To make a bad situation worse,
I couldn't understand a fuckin' word she was sayin'
so now I'm panicking.

What happened Kathy? Please tell me what happened.
And then I heard the news. . .

“Ya know something?” he says with his lower lip extending forward.
“Ya keep goin' like this and we're gonna have a problem. I know you're
only seven years old, and I understand that you're still developing mentally,
I really do, but you should be able to know the difference at this stage of the
game between what's right and what's just completely fucked up.
I mean do you? Seriously.”


                                                                            Pg 50
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Needless to say, the box was removed from the attic that week, and I never saw it again.
Neither would my grandmother ever see that red handled sickle of hers again either.
The following year my Aunt Gloria came down from California as she always did during
the summer months. Anyway, grandma boots (as we all called her) was up there looking
for it, for whatever reason she had in mind at the time, when out of the blue we heard,
“That son-of-a-bitch. He took my sickle, I knew it. He oughta drop-dead.”

My aunt and I were laughing so hard we couldn't stop. “Oh mom,”
she said calmly as if speaking to me, “you curse like a longshoreman.”


The reason why everyone called my grandmother, “Grandma Boots” was due to an incident
involving me as an infant. My mother claims to have taken me over there when I was only
four months old. Anyway, my mother told me that all the aunts and uncles were congregated
together for my grandmother's official birthday party. My grandmother just so happened to
be born on leap year. Now on this particular Saturday at the height of the festivities, just

when everyone was making a big fuss over me, my mother said I astounded them all.

I pointed to my grandmother who had just finished boasting about a new pair
of boots she had bought for herself, and said defiantly,
“Gaama Boots.”



According to my mother the whole house went crazy. It must have sounded really good to me,
because that was all I said for the remainder of the entire year. From that moment on, no one
called her Mildred again, but rather, Grandma Boots. Eventually, the phrase evolved thanks
to my cousin Roberta, who at some point in the early seventies changed it to Grandma Bootsie.


Upon entry to the adjacent room was a full-sized bed with a fancy wooden headboard.
My father's
bed while growing up in the house and a very odd walk-in closet. My father
called it, the suffocation
room. One day when I was three or four years old, I inquired by
asking him what was behind those
doors. “Listen” he said, “because I'm only gonna say
it once. Under no circumstance whatsoever
are you to even think of going into this room.
Do you understand?”

“But why?” I asked curiously.

“Because it's very,
very dangerous. Do I make myself perfectly clear? Not only are
there some very sharp tools in
there. There's also mice in there, not to mention the
exposed wiring and half a dry rotted floor,
so unless ya wanna fall through the floor
and land on your grandmother's dining room table, I
suggest you stay outta there.”
Not knowing what to say, I just nodded my head in agreement
.



“I'm just making sure that we understand each other,” he said, and that was the end of it.


                                                                            Pg 51
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                         Sleeping in the attic

Once when I was five years old, my mother locked my father out of the house, and I just
so happened to be with him. It was a wonderful night, following my father around as he
went from bar-to-bar drinking, gambling, and cavorting with the damsels of the evening.
But now, in the wee hours of the morning, with nowhere else to go, we were forced to stay
at my grandmother's house. It was quite convenient at the time for it was only
one house
down and on the same side of the street. As we entered the house, I asked my father
if he
had a favorite TV show when he was growing up, and his reply surprised me. “When I was

about ten or eleven years old, I asked my brother, what's a television set? He said to me, and
I'll never forget it, it's a radio with a picture. Okay, I said, because I just wanted to know.



                                                                       

Now to make a long story short, my dad escorted me upstairs and together we would sleep in the
attic,
because my aunt’s bed was slightly larger than the one downstairs in my father’s old room.

For any typical child growing up in the mid nineteen sixties,
it was a known fact that we
had to go to the bathroom quite often.

Anyway, the story had already been told to me about Captain Hook and the suffocation
room, so there was no way he could reverse it.
If you took into consideration that the
bathroom was on the second level under this bedroom,
and my father could only fall
asleep in complete darkness, then you would understand my dilemma.




At around four O'clock in the morning, I woke up and had to pee. Being that I was afraid
of the dark, I started to shake my father and told him he had to go downstairs with me.
That I couldn't go down there alone. What he did next was amazing. Child psychology at
its best. He then proceeded to remove the magnificent solid gold Christ head pendant from
around his neck and put it around mine. “Now,” he said, “you're protected from devils,
hobgoblins, monsters under the bed, and most of all, Captain Hook in the closet, now go.”

“What about you,” I said, sounding most concerned?
“Don't worry about me, I'll be fine.”




“What if Captain Hook comes out?”
“If Captain Hook comes out, I'll kick him in his balls,
and
throw him through the window. Now for the second time, go.”
“What if something
gets me anyway?”
“Aww, Jee-zus Cah---rist. That would be a human impossibility.
Do you
understand what impossible means? It means that it can't
under any circumstance happen,
now for the third time, go!”

As I stepped down from the bed into that pitch-black darkness,
I was without fear.
With total confidence, I descended the old winding staircase.
One that squeaked
and gave an occasional snapping sound. A noise that could have summoned evil
things, had I not been protected by the medallion of Christ.


I reached the landing where I did my business and returned in total obscurity.
As I climbed back into bed, I felt the chimera's scurry around the room, and
could almost see
one cleaving unto the bedpost.

“Who's in charge now,” I thought to myself with a wry smile?


“Hand it over,” my father said to me. I gazed at him in astonishment, before asking
if I could give the medallion back in the morning. “If you think for one minute that
you're gonna be foolin' around up here while I'm sleepin' ya got another thing comin,'
now give it up.” As I gently removed the pendant from around my neck and handed
it back to my father, the monsters under the bed slowly returned.



Not to mention Captain Hook, who could now be heard
gritting his teeth, ever so disdainfully from the closet.


                                                                            Pg 52
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                         The suffocation room

Only once, did I ever go in there. I was with my father, and I remember him closing the
bedroom door and pulling the roller blinds down on that main window. The sun was out in
full force, which meant my confidence level was up and just knowing that darkness would
not fall anytime soon, it was enough to keep me from being worried about anything.


As I recall, it was a hot summer day in July, 1969. My father had just opened the first set
of doors, and all that was visible to the naked eye was a ladies’ coat closet. Sliding back
a row of coats, the sweet smell of mothballs and cedar dominated the air. A second door
could now be seen. Pulling a slide bolt from above and turning a handle would open this
door, where warm air could now be felt trying to escape. Behind this door was the strangest
door I had ever seen. It was about three inches thick and solid for it was made of old maple.

There was an image carved on the door of a demon head, kind of like one you would
expect to see on a Victorian throne chair. It was surrounded by stars, meteors, and what
seemed to be lightning patterns that grew in intensity. It was a custom-made door,
crafted in the late 1850's for my great-great grandfather by R.J. Horner & Co.




*An image surrounded by a double roped border*


The inner border was a vibrant, dark red, suggesting the demon depicted
therein, was being contained, and therefore could not harm anyone.
The outer ring, which appeared to be quite impenetrable to the elements
of time and space, conveyed the impression it was somehow weakening.


As this heavy door was pulled open an updraft was created, and we got an eyeful of
dust and fine insulation particles. It felt like we had just stepped into a musty wooden
sauna that was beginning to feel more like a crematorium with each tight swallow.


All I could hear and feel was the sound of my own labored breathing and accelerated
pulse that seemed to be making my carotid artery dance. “We have to be very quiet,”
said my father in a low frightened voice, “cause the last thing we wanna do, is wake up
Captain Hook.” Dad was cool back then, and he talked like one of the Bowery boys.
Mom was attracted to him because he was somewhat of a rebel and nothing ever really
bothered him much. Nowadays, he is the epitome of ill-will. There is only so much blame
we can put forth on the human condition, before we have to start analyzing our own hearts.

The story of Captain Hook in the words of my father. . .

“He's got a patch over one eye that a big black spider lives in, and his face is so deformed with
long cuts and terrible scars, that his nose is only half there. Most of his hair is gone and his scalp
is riddled with infections. There are splotches of oozing flesh where his ears used to be, and his
bottom lip is completely gone. Torn off in a pirate fight. He'd love nothing more than to eat little
kids in the closet. Eat 'em alive as they scream, while he's pullin' out their guts. First he rips
your eyes out and then your tongue. Then after that he eats your face. . . Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”


                                                                            Pg 53
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Dad told the story as if he were narrating a sideshow in Coney Island, way before everything
became candy coated. With his face all contorted in tale made it great to see and hear.



“You gotta tell Steve that story dad.” Steven was my friend who
lived in the same row of duplex houses as us,
and he was three.

“Listen to me and listen good. You're the only one who knows
the story of Captain Hook and besides,
little Stevie tells his
mother that story, and they'll be lookin' to put me in jail.”


Slowly, we proceed to enter in past the third door, where I could almost
feel my heart
beating out of my chest. Inching forward, it felt like I was
entering another dimension.
A dimension not only of sight and sound,
but of mind. Yes, from where I stood in time,
I could most certainly have
imagined Rod Serling narrating another classic Twilight Zone episode.


“Enter if you will, a boy and his dad.

Together, they will embark on a journey into the unknown. And if you
continue to observe very carefully, you will soon learn
this is not your
ordinary father/son trip to the museum or carnival.
In this particular
story, you will soon learn the sideshow attraction which is
comprised
mainly of cardboard, sawdust, and an array of odds
and ends from
around the house is actually harboring a nasty little secret.


What the moral of the story is going to reveal to you,
is that Captain Hook, as we will call him tonight,
happens to be manufactured in The Twilight Zone.



Dad grabbed my arm as he shined the flashlight toward the end of the closet. Slumped over in a
chair was none other than the notorious Captain Hook. His skull was torn open, and he actually
looked even worse than my father had described. The worst thing my delicate young mind could
ever see or witness without cracking. He clutched my wrist, before pulling me in front of him.
Face to face was I now with the most frightening creature I had ever seen before in my entire life.
I was paralyzed with numbing terror as I stood trembling in the failing light. Far beyond anything
my fragile mind could possibly imagine on its own, and right now this monster was eye to eye
with me. Staring me down from less than two feet away. He twitched! I just saw him twitch!!!


“He's in a deep sleep now,” whispered my dad in a very low voice, “so don't even breathe,
because if he wakes up, he's gonna lunge at us and probably rip our throats out.”


Suddenly, and without warning this thing springs up to its feet, and my heart exploded.

I thrashed like a rodeo bronco leaving my father for dead, as I bolted from that closet taking
no prisoners. Running toward those vermicular stairs and falling down most of them, I swiftly
opened the narrow door that led to this sinister place and slammed it shut behind me. Ever so
tightly, I kept
my back pressed against it. Just in case, after it finished eating my father, it should
happen to come look for me. All at once, a ghastly bellow is heard from behind that
door along
with heavy pounding. I then released an ear-piercing scream that made grandma Boots run
faster than her own legs could follow, as she tripped up the stairs, hurting her knee.

I was white from
fear as my grandmother consoled me. As my father came
peering out from behind the old
attic door, he said in a grimacing tone,
“What-sa-matter, don'tcha wanna meet Captain Hook?”


“You know Richard,” said my grandmother, in a state of total duress,
“you're really stupid. Look at him, can't you see, he's terrified?”

After giving my father a piece of her mind for doing what he did, she made him carry
the withered dummy downstairs to show me it wasn't real. “Ya see,” he said, “I pull
the fishing line that's attached to his neck and Captain Hook jumps up like he's alive.”

“We gotta do that to Steve,” I bolstered with enthusiasm. “Can we dad? Can we?”

“Yeah-heah,” said my father, while laughing most heartily. . . “And then we'll have to move.”



                                                             The Virgin Sleep - Secret

                                                                            Pg 54
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Inkpop reviews for chapter
10


Evie J - I really enjoyed that! I had to finish reading it because I couldn't stop. It was very

interesting and different. I like it a lot! I'm definitely going to check out your other chapters.


Reviews for chapter 10 via email


William Davis -
If you made this into a movie you would win the academy award!


Charles Pendelton - If I made this into a movie, I would be going to jail.


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PG 47) Tuberculosis poster circa 1930's - http://tinyurl.com/leddovc

PG 47) 1904 Vintage Ad for Flexible Flyer Sled -
http://tinyurl.com/ldauwd9

PG 47) Slinky
Advertisement 1957 - http://tinyurl.com/nk66tks

PG 48) Vita Memoriae
by Vladimir Kush - http://vladimirkush.com/

PG 49) Star Trek
television series -
http://tinyurl.com/63h6fy

PG 49) Scholar meditating
by Rembrandt - http://www.rembrandtpainting.net/


PG 49) Kit Cat Klock  @ 
http://www.kit-cat.com/


PG 50) Pg 11
from The Gashleycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey - http://tinyurl.com/4mkotuv

PG 51) S. A. Byers Fine Boots and
Shoes - http://epherm.com/mxgmdw3

PG 51) The Forgotten Door
by Autumn Alchemy - http://forfotdd.com/mgxldpv

PG 52) Video killed the radio star
by Lauren Mortimer - http://tinyurl.com/k3mz3cz

PG 52) The Boogyman
by Michael Whelan - http://www.michaelwhelan.com/

PG 52) Night terrors by Natalia Urchina - http://www.naturch.com

PG 52) Monster under the bed
by zilla774 - http://zilla774.deviantart.com/

PG 53) R.J. Horner & Co. advertisement
circa 1887 - http://rjhorner.com/

PG 54) Illuminatus-R-Us
by Michael Pucciarelli - http://www.poochisland.com/

PG 54) The Word by Judson Huss - http://tinyurl.com/kn32xb5