Grandmother’s House by A.M. Moscoso

Photo by A.M. Moscoso

“I have one very firm, very strict rule in my house ” Sunny Longyear’s Grandmother told her on the night she stayed at Grandma’s house for the first time. Sunny stood straight and looked up, seemingly up for miles to her Grandmother’s stern face. Sunny did not blink, she did not grin or fidget. “I will not tolerate you sneaking off to the kitchen in the middle of the night for snacks. Your mother did that and she left crumbs and greasy smudges all over the bed linens and the door frames and everywhere else sticky messy fingers could leave a mark. I hate messes always as much as I hate disobedient children.” Photo by A.M. Moscoso

“Yes, Grandmother.” Sunny said.

Her grandmother looked down at her. “Yes?”

“You hate disobedient children.”


“Do you know what I hate?” Sunny asked.

“I do not care.”

“I hate not having midnight snacks.”

Grandmother’s mouth twitched. “Go and put your things in your room.”

Sunny picked up her bags and she bounced – her long black pony tail swinging from side to side – down the hall and up the stairs to her very own bedroom that was on the top floor of her grandmother’s three story house which sat alone on a cobblestone road called Hideaway Hills.

Grandmother’s house was old. Very old. It was older then Grandmother, and it had been brought stone by stone, with all of it’s woodwork and doors and mantelpieces, from the place where the old woman had been born.

“Where was that?” her family had asked once, when she was in the kitchen making dinner

“None of your business ” she had answered. She’d had a knife in her hand at the time. She had been standing with her back towards them, and she had lifted it up to her face and used it to see their reflections over her shoulder. Her dark eyes had flared in the wide band of silver.

The question had never been brought up again.

Sunny and her grandmother had spent the afternoon in her grandmother’s garden where they tended her herbs and weeded her vegetable patch and took care of her bee hives.

“Can I have a snack?” Sunny asked, when they were done and they were headed back into the house through the kitchen door.

“Yes. There’s some things in the pantry you can choose from. Don’t forget to cover the food back up with the cheesecloth, and if you open any containers shut them.” Her grandmother lifted a key from the inside of the door and handed it to Sunny. “Lock it back up when you are done, and young lady, I mean it: do not take any food up to your room. That’s why we have a kitchen and dining room table.”

Sunny took the key and she trotted merrily off to get her snack.

Photo by A.M. Moscoso

* * *

Sunny, her Grandmother safely assumed that evening, was in bed and either reading a book or listening to music- either Mozart or Ravel. Those were the choices she had given the child,  and she had no reason to think that wasn’t what was happening in the bedroom she had specially decorated for her first and only grandchild. At least, she had no reason to think otherwise until she heard the thunder of footsteps racing up the stairs at the end of the hall.

Her breath slowed – dangerously slowed –  in her chest. She smoothed her covers carefully, and pushed them to her left. Then she swung her long legs over the side of her bed and stood up.

Grandmother heard the symphony coming from above her head – and it was most certainly not a symphony by Mozart. It was a symphony of feet.
There was a little thud and then she heard Sunny say, “Uh-Oh. That’s going to leave a stain.”

Grandmother reached for her robe.

Before she had become Grandmother, before she had even become Mother, she had been Saturnina Guillermo, the woman who had once ridden alone through a mountain pass with a murderous band of men and women on her tail, and nothing to protect her but her wits. And now? Now she was being played for a fool by her eight-year-old granddaughter, who was every inch the ill-mannered pup her mother had once been.

Saturnina opened her door and threw it  to the side. She didn’t run down the hall or up the stairs. She hit each step hard with her heel. Then, standing before her granddaughter’s bedroom, she took a moment to collect herself before pushing the child’s door wide open.

Sunny was standing beside her bed, her nightdress covered with Saturnina’s special marinade  – the one that smelled like cinnamon and a touch of basil. There were was more of it on her handmade quilt.

“I dropped it.” Sunny confessed.

“I can see that.”

Sunny pointed under her bed and hung her head.

Saturnina walked slowly towards her granddaughter. She hovered over her for a moment, and then she reached out and grabbed the girl by the front of her nightdrePhoto by A.M. Moscososs and threw her up and onto her bed. She leaned down, reached beneath the bed, and  and then Saturnina leaned over and reached under the bed to retrieve the child’s snack.

Still leaning over she looked up at Sunny, who giggled mischievously, and said, “My, Grandma, what big teeth you have.”

Saturnina’s teeth had grown more prominent, and her eyes were huge in her weathered face. She pulled her arm from under the bed, to reveal a hiker – a woman named Gilly Anne – being held in her huge, clawed hand.

“Get yourself cleaned up, and if you ever sneak a snack into this room again I will ground you until you’re as old as I am. Do you understand me?”
The old woman stood up, and with a skilled flick of her wrist snapped the hiker’s neck.

“I mean it young lady ” she said to Sunny, whose soft, black and white fur was beginning to sprout in downy poofs all over her face and arms and whose eyes  had also grown bigger – big enough to see easily in the moonlight streaming through the bedroom window. “March.”


About the Author: A.M. Moscoso

Anita Marie Moscoso Anita Marie Moscoso was nine years old when she decided to become a Writer/Pirate/Astronaut. She is now so far away from the age of nine that it’s comical, but it turns out that she did become a writer, and she’s told stories about Pirates and Astronauts. Anita has also worked in a funeral home, explored the cemeteries of New Orleans alone, and has a great dog named Hamish and had a cat named Wolfgang.

More about Anita (in parts) can be found at her blog: Enduring Bones.





Wax Lips by Anita Marie Moscoso

Milo and his wife Jingle were riding the 377 Commuter Bus into Seattle, just before nightfall last Halloween.

The 377 made a special run on Halloween Night through Chestnut and Post Street where, according to the Weekly Entertainment Guide, Wax Lipsthere were over 50 “Spooktacular” Halloween Attractions to choose from for a night of “Blood Chilling” fun.

The bus was nearly full of Witches, Pirates, Vampires, Mummies, at least three Frankenstein’s monsters, a variety of aliens, and one guy who had “Beer” written on his forehead and tinfoil wrapped around his head.

Then there was Milo and Jingle.

Jingle was sitting next to the window, and when she sighed it frosted up a bit and he watched her take her finger and draw a frowny face into it.

“Feeling a little down, Jingle?”

She shrugged.

“Come on Jin, cheer up, it’s your favorite day of the year!” Milo reached into the front pocket of his worn, soft brown leather jacket and he fished around for a bit.

“Your favorite.” He held up a set of big red wax lips. “Look it says they taste like cinnamon.”

Jingle looked at the wax lips and then she went back to drawing on the window.

After a minute or two she held out her hand. “Give.”

He handed her the bag and she tore it open with her teeth and popped the lips into her mouth and started to chew.

“So, what should we do first? The Haunted Morgue? The Haunted House on King Street? Oh. No wait. I know. The Haunted Fun Run.”

Jingle stopped mid slurp and smack. “What the hell is that? A Haunted Fun Run? What do they do –  get dresfiery pumpkin - moscososed up like Sexy Nurses and Vampires and run from Bar to Bar?”

“No. It’s this bicycle club. They get dressed up and decorate their bikes and ride around town. How’d you like to race around town for a bit? It’s a great night for it. We can hop on a couple of those Ride Free Bikes and -”

The Bus turned a dark corner and bumped down a poorly lit street and thumped along neglected train tracks.  “That’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard of in my life. Who started that one?”

Milo slid away from Jingle a few inches and said, “Gracie Frost.”

Jingle spat the wax blob out of her mouth and it hit the floor with a very unappetizing splat. ” Why is that old cadaver organizing anything for Halloween?”

“Well. It’s a free country for starters.”

Jingle glared at him and didn’t stop until he looked away. “She’s trying to fit into the Halloween scene.” he almost whispered.

“I wish she’d fit herself into a body bag and leave the work to the professionals.”

“I know, Jingle. I know. But you know. Gracie Frost cramping your big night aside, I’d like to check out the Haunted Morgue. If you don’t mind.”

Jingle shrugged.

“Or. We could check out the Haunted House on King Street. I heard that this year they’re going to have a Paranormal Team show up and film everything. It won’t air till next year of course. But it would be fun to show up and try to get on camera. Don’t you think?”

“I think you are a simple creature Milo. However, you do come up with some great ideas.”

Jingle was visibly starting to cheer up. ” It’s a shame what happened to that Paranormal Team at the Haunted Morgue last year. I’ve heard they STILL haven’t found all of their, you know, parts.”

Jingle burped behind her hand and Milo shook his head. ” Don’t DO that Jingle.”

“Well. If it wasn’t a Haunted Morgue before, it sure as heck is now. I’d bet Snickers Bars to Caramel Corn Balls on that.”

There were two Princesses sitting behind Milo and Jingle and they looked at each other and then back down into their phones.

Street scene- moscosoWith a hiss and a thump against the curb the bus came to a smooth stop in front of


and everyone got up with their own special Halloween battle cries and started to file down the aisle.

Just before they got to the doors, the alien with bright silver paint on her face and “BEER” stopped Milo and Jingle.

“Love the costumes man and” Beer said to Milo and then he took a look into Jingles dark orange eyes and slightly down turned smile set in her heavy jaw and he said, “Ma’am.”

“You guys are going to win the Costume Competition for sure. Those are the BEST Werewolf costumes I’ve ever seen.” The Alien reassured them.

Jingle stood there with her mouth open, her long white teeth turning a little blue under the lights shining from above them. “Son of a bi- what is your problem E.T.”

“Happy Halloween.” Milo trilled as he shoved Jingle out the door and down the steps to the sidewalk.  ” There’s a costume shop around the corner. I can’t believe we forgot to dress up AGAIN.”

About the Author: Anita M. Moscoso

Anita Marie Moscoso Anita Marie Moscoso was nine years old when she decided to become a Writer/Pirate/Astronaut. She is now so far away from the age of nine that it’s comical, but it turns out that she did become a writer, and she’s told stories about Pirates and Astronauts. Anita has also worked in a funeral home, explored the cemeteries of New Orleans alone, and has a great dog named Hamish and had a cat named Wolfgang.

More about Anita (in parts) can be found at her blog: Enduring Bones.