31 Oct


Welcome to Halloween HotchPotch the first multi-collaborator ArtiPeeps blog themed around Halloween and ‘spookiness’. You’ll find a real mish-mash of fiction, audios, videos, poems and illustrations. Feel free to pick and mix and come back to savour…..And we’d love your feedback!

 The talented contributors to this blog are:

+Gary Caldwell+Jasmine DeGrado

+Kate Garrett

+Lisa Risbec + Ryan Shaw 



                                                                                                           Original Art Work by Ryan Shaw





All Hallows’ Eve

by Kate Garrett

They’ve run barefoot for hours

Over dirt paths littered with broken glass,

And they feel no pain.

He says, “Your patience breaks my heart.”

And kisses her hair,

As one tear taints the blood on his lips.

She says, “I love you, but I need the sun.

We’ve been in the dark

Too long, and I can’t handle this.”

He has to decide.

He touches her cheek. They part with a kiss.

She can no longer see his face

As he returns to the hours of starlight.

Her smile fades with his silhouette,

And regret steals her childlike delight.

The choice was never hers to make:

When he needs her she is there.

She’s a secret, a charm – invisible as ghosts.

When he sleeps, she is awake.


The Contract

by Jasmine DeGrado

Original Photo by Lisa Risbec

 Dear Readers,

The excerpt you are about to read was found in an abandoned car. The tow truck driver was a friend of mine and had found loose papers thrown about in the back seat of the car, and thought I would be interested in reading them. The writing was that of an elderly man. Upon reading, I feel eerily connected, as if I need to share this story with the world. I have made no changes or revisions of any kind. Read at your own risk.

When I signed my name in blood that night, not long ago, I knew what would happen. I dare not speak upon it except in silence through pen and paper.

He had looked at me with dark eyes…those dark eyes. They seemed to reach into my being and steal my soul, leaving my shell so cold and void. I remember the physical changes. I could never seem to warm my body, my blood is chilled, like a fine wine. My brain has slowed, but my eighty year old step became much faster.

The ties that once bound me from freedom released me, one by one. The first was my son, a pathetic drunk ass. He died surprisingly fast. They called it alcoholism. The next to go was my beautiful daughter tortured for nearly forty years by the grasp of drugs. Tears of joy I cried for her, only her, as I stood over her coffin. Soon after, my beloved Mary finally died, her evil heart worn from a lifetime of anger. That b***h, that b***h, was finally gone, along with every so-called fake friend we ever claimed to have had. Some questioned the deaths, while others felt pity and did not how to react, so they simply disappeared. No one questioned the money.

I moved into a fine neighborhood, one I could not have imagined a year before. It was just I and the two inherited dogs, each dying six months apart until I was completely freed from my past.

A woman had been brought into my realm “As a reminder of your past,” he would later say, standing over my hospital bed. My face swollen, my jaw wired shut, my old, frail body at his mercy. He had looked at me with dark eyes…those dark eyes.

The woman had been a gift. She had all the characteristics of those who were killed, those I had been freed from. That woman was to remind me of my loyalty to my contract and to the man with the dark eyes.

You will be rewarded,” he had said. A new woman would come into my life soon, a very beautiful woman with dark hair and a daughter. I was to take her in and love her. What could an old, worn man like me do with such a woman? He looked at me, his mouth slowly drawing up into a snare…or was it a smile? His teeth showing yellowed stained filth. “Destroy her,” he had said.

As promised, the woman arrived with her child and all was well. Then it began. I loved her so much, too much, though never once touching her. I watched the woman filled with curiosity struggle with her new life, with her new money. Blood money. From my bedroom window I would watch her sneak back into the house very late, night after night and I began to hate her as I hated the others. And so she began to drink. She began to get angry. She began to do drugs. She wanted to leave me. I did nothing.

The woman, drunk, smelling of sex and perfume, stumbled into my home one night. That hot summer night. And then he came, the man with the dark eyes…those dark eyes. Paralyzed in fear, standing in the doorway of the woman’s bedroom, I watched him.

Even now on paper, I do not have the courage to bring to life what my tired eyes had witnessed. She had made no noise, there was no mess. The man with the dark eyes stood up from her bedside, looked at me fiercely, and heaved a sound indescribable, vibrating every inch of my being. A demonic voice of a thousand souls speaking in synchronic subhuman misery screamed, “Abaddon!” The house shook with fury and wind. His eyes were huge, his mouth became monstrously large, his face grey, almost glowing in the darkness. I hid my eyes with my arm and then it was over. I slowly lowered my arm and looked toward the bed, but he was gone. So was she.

I ran into the little girl’s room. She was sleeping so soundly, as if nothing had happened at all. I will drive her to her grandmother’s house tomorrow. I feel as if we are in danger, as if I did not destroy the woman enough to fulfil my contract. I feel as if the man with the dark eyes will come soon for her, Abaddon. What have I done? The contract I had written with the blood of my wrist on virgin parchment was meant for freedom and wealth. I am afraid I cannot take this back. So be it. If these notes are to be found without me, please publish somehow as to warn the world there is evil waiting for you, watching you with dark eyes…those dark eyes.


Here we have a rendering of Robert Browning’s  My Last Duchess, An Unreliable Narrator of the Highest Order:

Written in 1842. It links the short story form, the tableau and the dramatic verse monologue….


The Third

by Jasmine DeGrado

The torture of sobriety’s bitterness lingers on my tongue,

his face haunting my memory.

My heart, after all of this time,

ripping apart.

Still. I let him go, but will never let him go.

My soul, will forever hungrily gnaw

at my pathetic, cold heart.

Stake me before I rise.

Decapitate my thoughts

and spare him my misery,

for my eternal love will

surely seduce him into the darkness…

as it has the others.



Original Art Work by Gary Caldwell


Picture within Soundcloud player by Larry Vienneau, With Thanks

The Cask of Amontillado is one of Poe’s most well known tales written in 1846. He is one of the first theorists of the short story (which he called ‘The Tale’ or the Prose Poem) He believed this particular form to be superior to the novel.


Original Art Work by Ryan Shaw:


 Boo! Some Devilish Books!



Original Photography by Lisa Risbec


Inspired by Woman With A Crow by Picasso:

Every day that my mistress comes to visit me the sun always

lies low. I have been her familiar for over 10 years now,

and I see no reason why this should change, unless I wish

it so. Our relationship is founded upon mutual disregard.

She only comes when she really needs me, otherwise I am

left to my own devises to peck & scrummage. My talons

are sharp, precise and can draw  blood. As soon as I see

her coming I offer my head and as she bends, my claws

root into the wood below, as my emotions surge to the fore.

To me her lips feel like thin parchment and her fingers

like snapping twigs. Everything about her is veiled, translucent

apart from her intent which I feel as her white lips pucker. Her intent

is dark and lies deep behind her masked eyes. Sometimes I

wonder whether I am more alive than she is? I wonder who is

the better phantom-she or I? She hides herself my mistress, and

she knows no bounds. My  mistress and I, we know no bounds. “

Picasso’s Woman With A Crow:


Day of the Dead

by Kate Garrett

His place was set, a plate was left


No time to think, she poured a drink –

Just enough.

To raise a toast

So he knows

He’s still loved.

She cries at times when he’s on her mind

But consolation

Returns to her when she uses words

For transformation.

Finding grace

In the memory

Of those she loved.


We all hope you enjoyed our Halloween HotchPotch and wish you a HAPPY HALLOWEEN. As always, thank you for your interest! And if you would like to get involved with any future ArtiPeeps collaborations, do get in touch via the comment box or @ArtiPeep on Twitter or follow our blog via the Follow button on the sidebar…

n.b. If you want to follow any of the above creatives on Twitter:

Gary Caldwell:

Jasmine DeGrado:

Kate Garrett:

Lisa Risbec:

Ryan Shaw:



  • New Page: FineFocus which focuses on specific techniques, genres, forms and processes in art/writing/creativity. At the moment we have two videos by a young artist CeleneArtiste up which show a new technique of hers. Do get in touch if you’d like to contribute to this.
  • Our First Guest Blogger , James MacKenzie was a great success, and I think brought a  new dynamic to ArtiPeeps. James is now our official ‘ArtiPeep’ English Art ‘Correspondent’ so you’ll be seeing more of his blogs on ArtiPeeps as the months go by. We’ll be having another guest blogger in November, Alastair Cook,  A Film Maker…
  • Also from  Wednesday 7th November we’re adding  a regular Wednesday fortnightly flash fiction element to the blog with Laura Besley…..
  • And you’ll find our  first ‘Visitor Peep’ in residence on the Visitor Peep Page. Another new poet, Susan O’Reilly, having written for only a year, who will be sharing her work with us. She’s keen to have any constructive criticism…Please see the side bar for more information about this initiative
  • Shortly there will also be a new ‘FabFiction Page’, a place for new poetry and prose,  so if you’d like to contribute, do get in touch!

There’s a lot going on!

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