Terrible Monsters of the World: The Wendigo

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

      By the men who moil for gold;

The Arctic trails have their secret tales

      That would make your blood run cold”

Robert W. Service




Overview :

  We all have that friend who loves a complicated brunch. The sort who’d make you wait in line for hours because the place had twenty grain toast and a clever menu. The sort sustained as much by the hunger and frustration of their hungover pals, as they are a proper meal. I have been that hungover pal, standing in the endless cold, my good nature worn thin by thoughts of food denied. I was neither killed nor eaten, but in that moment I could feel a whisper of the Wendigos hunger.

 The Wendigo, depending on who you ask, is a spirit, or demon, or psychological compulsion, that results in the consumption of human flesh. This physical embodiment of Hangry cannot be sated; like murderous Pringles, once popped the urge for flesh cannot be stopped. To be clear, this is supported by more than legend.

One of the more famous cases of Wendigo psychosis reported involved a Plains Cree trapper from Alberta, named Swift Runner.[26][27] During the winter of 1878, Swift Runner and his family were starving, and his eldest son died. Twenty-five miles away from emergency food supplies at a Hudson’s Bay Company post, Swift Runner butchered and ate his wife and five remaining children.[28] Given that he resorted to cannibalism so near to food supplies, and that he killed and consumed the remains of all those present, it was revealed that Swift Runner’s was not a case of pure cannibalism as a last resort to avoid starvation, but rather of a man with Wendigo psychosis.[28] He eventually confessed and was executed by authorities at Fort Saskatchewan.[29]

 A man confessed to being a Wendigo, and the evidence at hand strongly supported it. Do you know how hard it is to eat six people? I get that five of them were children, but he still ate several hundred pounds of fruit off his family tree. Even if he was at it for a week he is still the Joey Chestnut of cannibals. I suspect they caught him because he couldn’t stop bragging about it in bars.

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Death, defecation and unwanted prizes

    alleyAt some point my alley became hallowed ground for the neighborhood junkies. I suspect this began with the miracle of the stealable bike, but it has since become a place of refuge, commerce, and storage of recently acquired goods. In the past three months I have come home to discover:  Seatless bikes, Bikeless wheels, Futon Frames, Shitting whores, and a naked man trying on stolen pants. 

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Isaac The Ineffable: Act 2, Chapter One: May’s new job


 “So, under past work experiences you have : Thief of dreams.”


 May spun the resume around to face the applicant so they could read the offending section.


 “Does that seem like a legitimate job to you, Karl? Even figuratively it makes you sound like a shitty high school teacher. But literally, Karl, if we get audited and I have to explain why we are paying eighty grand to someone who’s previous job was… literally stealing dreams, do you think they will see that as a legitimate corporate expense?” Said May.


 Karl glanced at the resume and then returned its gaze to the clock on May’s right. They were unused to eye contact in brightly lit rooms or people yelling at them, not because of them.


 “ I thought this was just for internal use so I figured I would try to be transparent…and then maybe you’d, like, corporatize the language. “ said Karl.

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Isaac The Ineffable: First act Epilogue


   I arrived home to find a broken door propped against the frame, and a house in disorder, materially and otherwise. There was a note written on the back of a water bill: Isaac….icecream park, usual time. Shit got real! May. There was a small amount of blood on the floor and the baleful smell of predator lingered. Lyles’ room was open and empty of furniture, the forced entry had broken his wards. My toaster was hiding under the sink in the kitchen. I didn’t have time to comfort it but I put out some lightly combustible treats for later. 

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Isaac The Ineffable: Part Nine


   The boy’s house was indistinct, but fittingly seedy, simple and thick with old magic. A man’s place became him. Malcolm Hannish had watched for days and had taken measures to ensure Isaac was away long enough to have a proper conversation. In his hand Malcolm Hannish held a package he’d stolen from a porch down the street. He knocked thrice and waited. A small, tanned girl with short curly hair opened the door a crack, but left the chain on. Malcolm Hannish had been told she was May, person not month.

 “I have a package for delivery,” said Malcolm Hannish.


May closed and locked the door and responded by speaking through the mail slot.

 “Yeah, I can see that…but since you don’t have a clipboard I don’t need sign for it, so you can just put that shit on the porch and fuck off.” said May.

 It had not occurred to Malcolm Hannish to acquire a clipboard. Guile had never been his strength as a hunter. He pressed on.

 “This package is for Isaac Barrow, are you they?” Said Malcolm Hannish.

 “ I don’t know who that is, and you are giving me serious raper vibes, so why don’t you deliver that package straight up the ass of whoever gave you this address. I already called the cops.” said May.

 Malcolm Hannish was sure she had not. Those that lived on the fringe didn’t involve mundane authorities. Malcolm Hannish studied the protections on the door. They were robust, in a crude way, but designed more to contain that which was within, than to to bar entry. This ruse was thin, and Malcolm Hannish was not built for deception, so he kicked firmly at a spot below the knob. The lock burst along with the protections, and the door swung in, sending the girl sprawling to avoid being struck. She was quick and held a souvenir mini-bat from a local baseball team. Malcolm Hannish had never played, but enjoyed the cheap beer and sunshine of a day game. The girl swung it at his knees, Malcolm Hannish stomped the bat to the floor, pinning the girl’s hand beneath it.

  “I have not come to harm you, I need only that you tell me of Isaac. Answer in a clear and timely fashion and this could be brief and relatively painless.” said Malcolm Hannish. 

 May kicked towards Malcolm Hannish and tried without success to dislodge her hand from under the bat. Little bones broke loudly with each attempt. She screamed.

 “I have no fucking idea who that is.” said May.


Malcolm Hannish gestured about the room.

 “You are in his house.” said Malcolm Hannish.

 “This is my house you piece of shit, I got it at a police auction for a hundred grand. The last owner killed himself because he fucking sucked.”, said May.

  Without taking his foot from the bat Malcom Hannish picked up a bill, addressed to Isaac Barrow, from the side table and presented it May “And this”

 Fury and petulance twisted the young woman’s features. 

“I steal mail!” said May.

  Malcolm Hannish felt a certain regard for her will but the lie was obvious. Kneeling down Malcom Hannish grabbed the back of the girls neck and lifted her off the floor, his thumb and forefinger close to touching on the other side. She struck at him with no effect.  Malcolm Hannish turned the girl to face a framed picture of Isaac and her prominently displayed on the fireplace mantle.

“And this?” said Malcom Hannish.

 The words gurgled out.

“It came with the frame,” said May.

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Isaac The Ineffable: Part Eight

Exterior Building 2_265x178_08b

  “How did your date go?” asked Myles.

 Myles was the whole of the Happy Acres IT department and one of my two work friends. He was smarter than he needed to be, he’d had a brief stint at MIT before burn out and bad debt sent him to community college, but he never acted above the job.

 “About as badly as it could have without racking up a death or a felony. I don’t want to get into specifics, but Claire won’t return my calls, May is pissed at me, and I better die two towns over if I want a decent burial.”

 Myles  took in the information as best he could, it was clear he had follow up questions, but he didn’t pry. 


“ Maybe hanging out with May isn’t a first date move? I get you guys vibe, but you are kinda bringing a hyena to a hedgehog party.” said Myles.

 Savannah politics aside he had a point, but my romantic history was checkered enough before May that I didn’t think she was hurting my prospects.

  “It was a bad scene, but it was never going anywhere. Claire is a regular, decent, person and I’m, I don’t know…an Irregular, indecent, person.” I said.

 Myles brought his tupperware to the break room sink and rinsed it out. 

 “You are being too hard on yourself. You are a decent enough guy, you just make bad choices.” said Myles.

 I shrugged. I appreciated the generous interpretation but it wasn’t an issue.

 “ I am not making a value judgment, we are just different things that mesh poorly.” I said.

 Myles put his tupperware into his insulated meal bag. It fit so perfectly it must have come as a set.

 “You could tell that for sure from one date?” said Myles.

“I could tell that from no dates, but sometimes you want to prove a negative.” I said.

 Myles patted my shoulder and left the kitchen. I threw out my sandwich bag and crumbs and took the stairs to the ground floor to start my rounds. The argument was loud enough I could hear it from the stairwell.


“Doctor David Seaver, tell him to get his ass down here before I go up there and drag him down.”

  A medium tall and muscular twenty something was berating the receptionist. He had cauliflower ears and the scarred head of someone who attracted a lot of bottles. He seemed bad at negotiating but prone to violence. The receptionist, Callie, attempted to lay out the facts.

 “Dr. Seaver is not in today, and if he was I would not call him downstairs to be ambushed. If you have an issue with care or billing I am happy to give you our administrators contact information, but if you don’t calm yourself I am going to call the police.” said Callie.

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