Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Cthulantern!

I love jack-o-lanterns, or as I call them, gourd art. Next year I'd like to buy a really nice set of relief-cutting tools  and do a couple intricate designs, but for this year I ran out of time. So instead I decided to make a jack-o-lantern that I've always wanted to make.

Well, two nights and seven or eight hours of work later, my jack-o-lantern is finally finished! Behold, the Cthulantern!

It even looks kind of cool with the lights on!

That's all for right now. Halloween and election season aren't yet finished, so look for another post soon!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


October is nearly over, and I haven't posted a single creepy, unsettling story yet. That changes today! The inspiration from this story comes from H.P. Lovecraft's "The Whisperer in Darkness", which I just read for the first time last week. Check if out if you haven't already.

Now,turn off the lights, grab the flashlight and gather around. 

Aaron M. Smith- 21 Oct 2012

Franc drove his car slowly down his street, careful to not look too conspicuous. Since he lived so far out from town, his road didn’t get a lot of traffic. A car on the road was rare enough.
As he approached his single story ranch, he glanced out the passenger window. His driveway was empty, but movement behind the thin curtains in the kitchen caught his eye. A silhouette moved, a shadow stepping away from the window.
Oh crap. They were in his house.
He sped back into town. Fifteen minutes later, he slipped into the back booth of the nearly abandoned Waffle House off of I-75.  He ordered a cup of coffee and a waffle. He stared at the waffle until the syrup soaked entirely through it and made it all mushy.
He couldn’t go home, that was certain. There was no place he could go that would be safe, not anymore. He sighed, and even though he wasn’t hungry, he started eating his waffle.
He should’ve just stayed in bed that night.
Had it really only been a week ago? The night of the big meteor shower, fragments of a planet that had been too close to a sun that went supernova a hundred million years ago, the news said. Franc had a great view from his back porch.
A blinding white light, like a road flare tearing across the night sky, appeared from out of nowhere and streaked through the sky over his house, so bright it left spots on his eyes. It crashed through copse of woods behind his house. The cloud of dust it kicked up when it landed rolled over his house, kept him inside for about ten minutes.
He’d called his brother Gil, but Gil had never really taken Franc seriously. Not since they were little, after Franc had been put on his pills. The meds evened him out, let him keep a job and everything, but Gil could never see past them. Franc ended up trekking out into the woods alone, with a long kitchen knife and a flashlight.
“Sir?” Someone said, and he jumped, dropping his fork onto his place with a clatter.
The waitress recoiled, then said tentatively, “Freshen your coffee?”
Franc nodded numbly. The waitress topped off his nearly full mug. He stared out the window until she went away. The sun was just beginning to touch the top of the hills. In another half hour it would be dark. He had no idea where he would go. His eyes darted to his cell phone on the tabletop. He briefly considered calling Gil again, but abandoned the idea. If Gil hadn’t come out then, he wouldn’t now.
He picked up his phone and started flipping through the pictures on it. A bunch of ones that had been on there for months, and then…
It had been so dark that night that his phone could hardly take a clear picture. He couldn’t believe just how hot it was. The thing that fell from the sky had torn a trench in the dirt, scorching and smashing trees in a ten-foot path of destruction, the friction causing the grass and dirt to smolder. It had finally come to a halt at the base of a limestone shelf on the edge of a creek bank.
Franc flipped through the pictures he’d taken of the… what was he even supposed to call it? It might’ve been called a box, but it wasn’t exactly that. It was more square than round, which he was not expecting, but the geometry of it was… just wrong. He rotated the phone so he could see it at a better angle, then flipped through the dozen or so photos he’d snapped of it.
The object itself was solid, but it was as if someone had described the concept of inside-out to a blind man, and then asked him to sculpt it. No matter how he turned it, it made Franc feel like he was looking at an M.C. Escher drawing. Each side seemed to connect with the opposite side instead of the adjacent sides. From one angle it looked no bigger than a few inches across, but from another it looked larger than his microwave. It was a milky white color, and looked completely undamaged by its collision with planet Earth.
Franc flipped to the last picture on his phone, and his skin started to crawl. He hadn’t been in the woods for longer than fifteen minutes when he’d heard the crashing coming through the trees. It started far off but approached quickly, and it was so loud that Franc was sure it was more than one person. His finger had slipped and he’d taken one last picture as he was running away.
The thing in the shot might’ve been a man. It was only a silhouette, and it was still a ways off. And it was dark. But the hunched shoulders, the low, sloped dome of the head were unmistakable. Franc didn’t see any more- he was running as fast as he could back to his house. He knew the woods and made it back in five minutes. Everything was quiet when he got inside, shut out all the lights and locked all the doors.
He didn’t sleep that night. He didn’t even bother to try. Instead he sat in a desk chair at the window of his bedroom that overlooked the back yard. He thought he’d seen something moving in the shadows at the edge of the woods, but he couldn’t be sure. By dawn he was so exhausted and his nerves were so fried that he’d begun to wonder if he’d imagined the whole thing.
Damn those photos on his camera. They wouldn’t let him forget. But he couldn’t bring himself to delete them.
He’d fallen asleep at dawn and missed work. He called in sick, apologized to his manager, promised to pick up an extra shift later in the week. That afternoon was when he first noticed the cars.
Normally there wasn’t a lot of traffic on his road. He lived so far out from town that nobody came his way very often. But suddenly a lot of cars were driving by his house. Not too slow, but just slow enough for him to notice, slow enough that Franc got the impression that someone was looking at his house. Looking for him.
The next week had been torment. Franc couldn’t miss another day of work, but when he went to his car in the morning before dawn he’d take the big kitchen knife with him. Every evening when he returned home, he was sure that someone had been inside his house. Nothing was ever out of place or missing, but something gave him a creeping feeling every time he opened the door, like the walls himself were watching him.
Was it the government? Were they trying to cover up what had happened? Did he find some kind of spy satellite that dropped out of orbit? Or was it… he didn’t even want to let the thought cross his mind. He hadn’t worried about things like that for years. Not since he got his pills. But what if?
What if the owner of that thing had followed it here? As far as Franc was concerned they could have it- he hadn’t gone back into the woods since that first night. But he’d seen it. He had photographic evidence of it.
Every evening that week Franc had felt that same creeping feeling when he got home from work, like some hidden eyes were on him at, quantifying his every move. The breaking point came last night, when he found his pills missing.
He’d turned his house upside down looking for them that night, but they weren’t anywhere. They were simply gone. Whoever had been in house had to have known what they were and how much Franc needed them. He had a few extra in his car, but not enough.
Finally, this afternoon he’d managed to leave work early. That was when he was them in his house. They were waiting on him today. Lord knew what they’d done if he’d just walked in on them searching his house.
But he wasn’t safe. They’d seen him drive past. They had to know he’d still be close.
The last bite of waffle stopped halfway between Franc’s mouth and his stomach, caught in his esophagus somewhere. The Waffle House was the only restaurant between here and town. They’d come here looking for him first.
His eyes snapped to the parking lot. How many cars were there?...ten, eleven. Eleven. How many had been there when he sat down? Oh god, he couldn’t remember. They could be in here right now. He glanced up; several of the tables were full now. There was almost nobody in the place when he’d sat down. How long ago was that? Ten minutes? Thirty?
Shit, without his pills it was getting hard to tell. He’d taken the last of his spares that morning for work, and his refill prescription was in his house.
Franc pulled his wallet out and dropped a handful of bills onto the table. He stood slowly, trying not to make any sudden moves. But slowly, every eye in the room glanced up and fell on him. It wasn’t all at once, and it wasn’t for long, but everyone looked at him. He felt their gazes like they were tangible things, fingers touching his skin.
He ran for the door. In the parking lot, he dropped his car keys fumbling with the lock. His hands clammy, cold, he finally unlocked the door and stuck the key in the ignition. As the engine rumbled to start, he glanced back at the Waffle House.
Everyone in the restaurant was looking out the windows at him, unabashedly staring.
Franc smashed the gas and spun onto the road, then onto the interstate. He’d gone a mile before he realized he’d forgotten to turn his headlights on. He didn’t know where he was going, just that he had to get away. They’d be following him again, probably in minutes. His eyes flicked to the rear view mirror.
Had the white car behind him driven by his house earlier that week? Franc couldn’t be sure. He urged the accelerator forward and kept running.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"Trick or Treat!"

This weekend I'm reverting back to my political cartoon roots. In the interest of bipartisanship, I drew two versions of this cartoon. Just read whichever you find more relevant. ;)

If the kids in the cartoon look familiar to you... well, first let me say thank you, because that means you've been reading my cartoons for a long, long time. They first appeared in a similar cartoon that I drew waaaaaay back in 2005.

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Nerd Bumper Stickers 04"

I did this one on request.

"Me thank you for coming here today. Me am wanting to talk hard things. Economy bad. Taxes bad. Partisanship bad. Smashing good! More smashing! Smashing American way! Grimlock want be president in 2012- You vote for Grimlock, you get more smashing!"

(Currently taking suggestions for my next bumper sticker, by the way)