Follow the crumbs through the woods to find the muffin man. Only what you find isn’t the muffin man. What you find is tall as oaks and wide as your cottage. It’s an insect with wings the color of October and rust. It has a million eyes and they are all watching you. They’ve watched you since the time of your birth, waiting for you to step out of the safe bounds of society and come searching. You thought it was the hunger to rebel against the rules, the hunger of seeking truth that gave you courage to sneak past the snoring guardsman and into the forest beyond. But now you realize, it was its call.
Its slight wings beat. They hum. They tell a story how it birthed you. The way you broke from your shell, unfolded your wings, and breathed in the dewy air. The way it gnawed off your wings and gouged all but two of your eyes. How it sent you away so you’d never know… your mind stops listening because of its eyes.
You recognize the million eyes of the creature as your own. It is truth. But you don’t want that anymore. You realize the Muffin Man was a secret messenger for this creature, your birthparent. He’d been leaving crumbs for you to follow for years, a subliminal secret. He has lead you to your death.
You turn and run. You follow the moldy breadcrumbs back through the woods to where the snoring guardsman rests at the wall. The monster with a million eyes follows you, begs you to finish listening to its tale. But you don’t want to know.
You creep back into the society you are familiar with. You run into your cozy cottage home and snuggle into your bed with an old familiar quilt and the Thomas Kincaid poster on the wall. You live a dream. And it makes you feel better like a cup of warm tea. What you don’t realize is in that one moment of death, you were truly alive. You saw life the way it is: scars and beauty. But the moment is lost.
As you drift off to the flicker of a candle, you live again in the world were you were not birthed, but had grown to accept. You close your eyes and forget. You forget what you truly are: a monster in a skin of lies.
Exiled in deep southern Texas, Jodi is a Seattle author hoping to write her way back to the Pacific Northwest. She writes omnivorous fiction favoring fable, suburban punk, horror, and bizarro. She writes the pirate epic – The Wicked Woman’s Booty for PMM & blogs HERE!
19 thoughts on “PMM’s Birthday Party! – Bread Crumbs by Jodi MacArthur”
Excellent, Jodi. I could hear the hum and feel the eyes on me.
Woah, there. The night has a thousand eyes, indeed. Good stuff!
Great writing Jodi, so evocative and laced with thick honey. The Muffin Man is also a great Frank Zappa song he is in a lab with a fully charged icing annointing utensil, where he gathers an intimate quantity of dried muffin remnant and turns to then camera and says ‘some people like cup cakes, I for one care less for them’.
Toast em and drip the honey all over their soft centres.
This is a fantastic story.
Love this, Jodi. SO creepy. Makes you want to check over your shoulder once in awhile, just in case. And what about other people? Are they really? People? Or is that just a mask… Truly enjoy a great scare.
Compelling from start to finish.
It reminded me of a strange amalgamation of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Kafka.
I don’t know what scared me more: the Muffin Man or the Thomas Kincaid poster. Argh!
Thomas Kincaid’s name is really Thomas Kinked. Thomas Kinked IS the muffin man!
Kristin ~ They are still watching you…
Paul ~ Starlight Starbright grant the wish I wish tonight..
Richard ~ Frank Zappa is an interesting artist. In many ways I think he think sideways instead of fowards or backwards, so this is a great thought to be compared too.
Joyce~ Exactly. Who are we underneath and when confronted with the truth. We either deny, accept, or shatter.
Uv~ A wonderful mix to be compared too. This came from the same place everything else does, a great big ocean of possibilities and impossibilites
Thanks for reading everyone!
Dang, Angel stole my comment! Definitely a fate worse than death. Love your buggy story JoJo!
Very graphic images came to mind as I pictured this huge, gruesome fly , rubbing his nasty legs together, staring at his kin. Like this a lot.
I’m going with Angel – scary, but I think the Thomas Kincaid posters _are_ the scariest.
Thanks for the comments everyone!
Is this a true story? I need to know, because I think we may be sisters…”monster(s) in a skin of lies.”
Blimey, I loved this one. The pace is so perfect, a creeping, ominous, pace that drew me in and had me transfixed from first to last. And the creature, just so enigmatic. I felt, rather than it being monstrous, something to be feared, it contained a thing of beauty, and a great sadness.
A beautiful write, my friend. One of those where something new appears at every reading.
Wonderful stuff, Jodie.
I was starting to beat myself up abuot this story, that I hadn’t let it stew long enough. That I should I have taken out the muffin man & not visualized the creature so much because they have distracted from what I wanted the reader to take away from the story. Despite my shortcomings, you’ve managed to nail the very very heart of where I was writing from. The monster was beauty and sadness: it is truth.
Your thoughtful comment completely warmed my heart. Thank YOU, my friend.
This was so creepy and compelling – for my part I thought of a golden cicaeda (sp?) – but with many more eyes. It’s that “watching” that you get, every so often, with a bug that makes them so f***ing creepy, and I KNOW you’ve seen some big ol’ Texas bugs.
The real horror though, of course, is in the reveal, and the realization that the monster is the man.
Hee. Yes, Chris. Cicada-ish smething was on my mind. Cicadas have two giant eyes then like, three or four little ones inbetween. It looks like a crowl of jewels to me. This monster had obviously, many more! The truth can be terrifying, but things aren’t always as they first appear. I probably didn’t do this story justice. I will rewrite long someday.
Thank you for your kind words, my friend!
This is, quite frankly, a tremendous piece of writing. You’ve utilized language to its fullest potential to convey, what I think, is our own shortcoming in being who we are truly meant to be. As the expression goes, accept death and all things are truly possible. What you’ve given us here is an unaccepted death and in consequence, the inevitable death of the spirit.
Congratulations, I am truly impressed!
“What you’ve given us here is an unaccepted death and in consequence, the inevitable death of the spirit.” Exactly, Charlie! I was so excited after reading this. You got it. REALLY got it. Thank you also for your kind words. I really enjoyed your story this issue too.