We Welcome You Part One…

Welcome to the Madness family, we hope that you find your time here enjoyable, deadly, and quite lovely.  Today on the day of Magic we hope that you get home safely tonight, we really would love to see you next year.  Part Two and Three will be posted in the coming weeks.

Happy Halloween!



Get up.

Time to play.

Wake up!

Time to start your night.

I am pushed out of my colorful dreams and into my dark room.  Everything is quiet except the sounds of the fan filling my space with cold air.  I search the soft bed under me.  First, I find my glasses and slip them on.  Second, I find my phone.

“Muse, really?” I complain pulling away from the blinding light.  Midnight, on the dot.  And she wants me up?

No, I am the boss.  This can wait.  I jerk my glasses off, throw my phone and close my eyes.

No sooner that my eyes shut, bright lights appear and suddenly visions pass over my closed lids.  Visions of a fire; definitely not my previous dream.  Angry, hot flames surround me.  The red and yellow bright flames lick up high to the sky where I don’t see anything else.  The smell of burning trees sweeps down my throat.  After that, I stop trying to catch my breath.  Sweat clings to my body; I feel like I’m in a sauna.

Then the vision switches and immediately I feel cooler and wet.  I look around and notice that I am encased by a sea. My curls float all around me like a shadow.  The light from the sun recedes as I am pushed deeper into the dark blue ocean.  My lungs seize together and I don’t take in a breath.  I’m sinking.  Fear and sadness arrive with loving hugs around my cold body.

Like weights, I start to sink faster.

Panic seizes my breath and I began choking as the cool liquid starts filling my lungs.   Just when I think I’m about to pass out, I see a glimmer of pink hair.  Bright, big, blue eyes swim in front of my face and her caramel colored hand grabs me.  Muse.  I hold on tightly to her hand.  Like a lifejacket, she wraps herself around me and we begin floating to the top.  My eyes slip shut and I try to regain my calm.

Almost there.  Her melodic voice whispers in my mind.

Open your eyes.  She laughs and it sounds like jolly bells.

I flash open my eyes and collapse at the sight.  I notice that I am safe and back in my room.  My lungs burn screaming for air.  I finally take in several breaths.

Get up!

We have work to do.

She needs you.

“Fine!” I sit up, fling my sheets off of me, and make my way to my computer.  Empathy for this character makes me dismiss my annoyance.

Once there I grab my headphones and get ready to recede from reality.  I take a long deep breath of air and hold it into my lungs.  A few seconds past before I release the air.  I feel myself calming and my heart finds a steady rhythm to beat.  On the next inhale and exhale I notice the black top hat materialize on my keyboard.

I fit the top hat onto my head and my eyes slip shut.  I prepare myself to go deeper.  With a deep breath in I fall into myself.

Inhale.  Down the rabbit hole.

My stomach jumps and I feel like I’m plummeting fast.

Exhale. Into the Madhouse.

I land with a thud and take a second for my insides to catch up.  I tilt my head up before opening my eyes letting my first gaze be of the canopy of trees and the colorful cloudy sky.   Deep in the distance, a wolf howls, greeting the moon as dusk begins to fall.   A chorus of loving howls soon fills the expanse of the forest like music to my ears.  I’m back! I smile and stare at the purple pink sky with an appreciation for this mad, mad world I have been gifted.

I take a deep breath of fresh dreamy air, unfolding my legs from under me.  My feet collides with the leaves that rest on the forest floor and the sound of crunching leaves makes me laugh.  I run my hands down the golden arms of my throne I now sit on.  The royal blue cushions  dip and the chair squeaks as I start to make myself comfortable.

My throne is situated at the beginning of a forest clearing.  On either side of me, there are dirt pathways that lead me a little deeper into this mad, mad world and more branch off from those pathways.  I have only explored a few.

Before me, the clearing expands and is the heart of this Madness.  Doors float a few feet off the ground throughout the expansive greenery.   There are about ten doors, some closer to me others far in the distance.   All wooden but each with their own individual designs crafted into them.

The closest one to me is a large double door. One the left side paneling sits the carving of the Fates from the Greek Mythology.  The right paneling carving is a lightning bolt.  Ice clings on the top of the doors.

This is the doorway to The Foretold.  A world almost complete.  A story of great precedence in my creative Madness from the other doors here.

In between the ten doorways, a stream runs where it continues on through a big wrought iron gate.  The gates separate this world from my creative subconscious where lost creative spirits roam.

I sit back and take a deep breath.  I’m back!  I think again.  I am sleepy no more and I can feel the excited waves crashing through me.  Who will muse bring back this time?  I adjust my hat and settle deeper into the cushions.  My nails tap out a song that’s been stuck in my head.

“Let me see you move your bodies.” I sing softly to myself.

The sound of a sword cutting through the wind is the only warning I receive before it whizzes above me and embeds the tree behind.  I take my wide eyes off the jeweled sword when footsteps rush towards me.  A man, a very tall man, comes barreling through the trees from the pathway to the right.  Golden brown armor attaches to him at all sides of his massive body.  Long dirty blonde hair frames his tan face.

I watch as he quickly makes his way to me.  His blue eyes capture mine for a minute and then he nods in my direction before he reaches over me and tears the sword from the tree.  He swings back around, his body poised for attack.  I place my feet up under me and my heartbeat kicks up a notch or two.  My eyes switch back to the warrior and to the forest where he catapulted from and back again as we both await the pursuer.

The rush of adrenaline makes my lips extend into a smile.  I grow to expect their different ways of welcoming me back.  Suddenly another male just as tall enters my line of vision through the trees.  He wears a similar armor as the warrior next to me.  His skin is a deep chocolate and his eyes shine amber.  He smiles.  A smile that is sure to charm anyone with a pulse and when he winks at me I nearly slip from the chair.

His face becomes impassive when he locks onto the other warrior, now in front of me.  The beads on warrior two’s dreadlocks clack together which each calculated step into the clearing.  I can see he holds his own sword and ready for war.  The blue-eyed warrior steps closer to him and gives me some much-needed breathing room.

There’s a breath of silence before the battle begins.  The skill at which they both battle with their swords is amazing.  I can’t tear my eyes away.  I flinch at the sound of their swords clanging together as my eyes track every single movement.  My blood rushes to my tense muscles and I remind myself to breathe.  Who will win?  What’s going to happen?

They push their swords toward one another vying for dominance.  The anticipation kills me.  My fingernails clench into the plush throne.  I squeeze my lips shut not wanting to interrupt anyone’s concentration, although I feel the need to cheer both of them on.   I must admit I am jealous that they get to play with swords and I can only dream about doing this.  I can only ima-

My head whips left away from the battle and onto the vessel of trees to my left.  A familiar sound has my back straight I try to open my ears to the sounds of the world.  I could have sworn. Yes.  There it is again.  The sound of a drum.  It’s almost time!

I hop up excited to witness tonight’s performance.  The sword battle is forgotten.  My muse and the new character is forgotten, for now.  I would just have to come back.  I slink away from the battle and I kick into motion, following the dirt path in front of me.

As night gradually descends I am more aware of what inhabits the evergreens on both sides of me.  Through the trees, I catch sight of shadows of different sizes and forms.  The shadows of unknowns.

Goosebumps break out on my skin.  I find that I’m more afraid of the unknown creatures that inhabit my mind than outside.  My muse works hard helping me create this world to house unique character spirits.  She doesn’t always pick the sweetest spirits or the friendliest.

Like the she-wolf, that leans against one of the trees ahead of me.  Her silver hair is thrown into a bun and she is dressed in all leather.  I watch her file her sharp long nails oblivious to me.  Finally, she looks up at me, surprise lights up her face and she falls away from the tree and into step with me.

Her ice blue eyes are bright and her pink lips curl upwards.  “You’re back.” She says then glances down at my pj’s with a smirk.

I nod with a smile.  By the look on her face, she’s in a happier mood, maybe because I’m not trying to pick her brain.

“Ready to play?”

Before I answer her, she stops and drops to her knees on the dirt.  She transforms into her beautiful white wolf form.  Her body quakes as it takes a couple of shakes to wean out the magic.  She runs in circles around me and whines, then runs in between my legs nipping at my ankles.

“Fine.” I swat her away.  I stop, adjust my hat, and ready myself with one of my feet slightly in front of the other.

With a final look at her, I shout “Go!”

I pump my arms, running as fast as I can.  My feet pound against the dirt sending shocks up my body.  I have to change into something better than this.  With just a thought, the top hat changes into a headband with a big black bow that rests atop my curls.  Black boots slip onto my foot.  The wisps of the red lace dress caress my body loosely down to my ankles.  Now my pace picks up towards the drums.

We race together and she lets me keep track beside her.  We slow once we burst into another clearing.  This one is not so empty.  In fact, it is crowded.

Werewolf.  Vampire.  Demon.  And more.

Knowledge is power.  Research my strength and weakness.  I know more than I want to about the creatures around me.  Some of them do give me the creeps and they knowingly stand farther away from me.

The crowd parts as I make my way through.  The sun finally sets but thankfully, we are not awash in darkness.  Glitters of different colored lights fall from the night sky and land into the tall grass.   The sparkles of light weave around the clearing, encircling us in a bright colorful bubble.

I finally see where the beat comes from.  In front of us stands an elevated platform made of a gigantic tree stump.  The stump extends out five or six feet in all directions.  Atop of the stage sits a drum set behind it a figure of a man.  He has a black mask that hides his face but when he smiles, his sharp teeth sends shivers down my spine.

A black shadow forms into another masked man but he stands with a guitar.  Another with a bass shows up.  All that awaits is the singer.  Her mic is a skull and black lace flows down her mic stand.

We watch the stage.  Eyes glued as the music starts.  I recognize it immediately as it’s the song that’s been stuck in my head when I got here.

“I don’t know how I got here but we cannot get out.” A voice echoes through the clearing.

I suck in a breath as the fog surrounds the stage.  Suddenly there she is.  The singer.  She stands behind the mic “I’m surrounded by strangers as the music starts to pound.”

She is me but not me.  Same curls yet hers hang farther down.  Same piercings and tattoos.  Same brown face and lips but her smile curves devilishly.  And she has on a leather jumpsuit that sticks to every curve we both have.  She winks at me before placing her red lace mask over her eyes.

So everybody starts to move now

I wanna see you all give way

I wanna tear this place apart tonight

And have you thank me for my rage”

Excitement has my blood jumping and I ready my body.

“I wanna see you lose your fucking minds and rip apart this place!” She screams and it sends the creatures around in a frenzy.  They jump in sync in tune with the beats and it feels as if an I’m standing on a trampoline.  I join in unable to stay away from the sick beats.

Let me see you move your bodies.  The words repeat and I move my body slowly.  The energy is electric and beside me, they move.  They go crazy to the dirty sexy beats.  The music kisses my nerves; the hardness and harshness cascade like a waterfall over me.

“I’ll tear you apart

I’ll feed off your heart

I wanna see your bodies grinding just for me

I’m just what you need, the perfect disease

Don’t you wanna turn the beauty into the beast?”

She sings and I am electrified time and time again as the song continues to escalate.

Someone takes my hips and we rock together.  Fear of these creatures dissipate.  I greedily take in their energy and lose my mind and body to the music.

“I feel the monster caged inside of me

Screaming through my bones

I wanna see you start to sweat now

I wanna see you lose your minds

I wanna feel you all from deep within

Swayin’ back and forth all night”

Talons grip my arms raising my hands above my head.  I throw my head back.  I let go and cold hands push me up.  I crowd surf.  Creature’s appendages move me forward.  I lift my head and notice I’m floating towards the stage.

“Let me hear you scream!”

My body shakes as the earth quakes from the animalistic growls and shouts.

“I feel the animal is rising!” She sings.

I scream the chorus with her enjoying the light show above me.  Finally, I can see I’m reaching the stage.  The alti-me grips me hands and pulls me onstage.  I grab her hand and we dance with each other and I sing from the top of my lungs.  We headbang.  We jump.  We move.

The music slows and she grips my hands.

“The Beauty in me.  The Beauty in Me, the beauty’s the beast.” She whispers as she touches my face.

Then the crowd erupts in cheers, roars, and applauds. I take a bow down and when I raise it’s quiet.  Too quiet.



Quanisha A. McGruder


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