motel neon signs

The snow fell softly on the streets of Hanamura. They were empty, the citizens at home with their families on Christmas eve. Only one person trudged through the snowfall.

Hanzo adjusted his scarf one handed, trying to cover up his mouth more and juggle the box he carried at the same time. Reflexes honed with years of training saved the box from winding up in a snowdrift, and he pressed on, breath hissing through his scarf and billowing up into clouds of fog.

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the signs as suburban haunts

ARIES: flattened paper boats scattered like the remains of a murdered animal along a dried up river, rundown motels with their blasted neon signs and smashed-in windows, pink streamers from some neighborhood child’s birthday party shuffling across the street like bright tumbleweed, a train rattling off into the breathless night & the trace remnants of a week old bonfire found in the middle of nowhere. 

TAURUS: chipped paint, shattered shot glasses lying across an abandoned pool table missing a few billiard balls, flyers rustling like autumn leaves against the tempestuous tides of the wind, advertising concerts & magic shows that took place in 2005, the sillage of old perfume clogging up the air, still thick as the scent of blood or wildflowers.

GEMINI: the corpse of a cigarette that hasn’t touched a mouth in months, a dilapidated playground where lost souls come out to play, threadbare curtains ripped like the wings of a dissected bird, strange red-brown stains across the hotel bedsheets, a gate grown weary with new-forming foliage & age, whining erroneously whenever maneuvered. 

CANCER: an empty casket, coffee rim imprints across hardwood tables, an old, tattered shoe lying haphazardly on the side of the road, a junkyard littered with ancient cars still soggy with stories, a pick-up with a broken windshield, a cadillac with a massacred paint job, someone’s motorcycle with blood staining the front tire, an askew portrait with eyes that follow you around the room.

LEO: a carnival horse with one eye scratched out, a daycare centre that shut down years ago, plagued with the colorful ghosts of children’s drawings still tacked to the crumbling walls, a spiral staircase that seems to shift direction when nobody’s paying attention, crunched up beer cans rolling across an empty rooftop & lichen kissing the concrete. 

VIRGO: the supermarket, flickering & eerie at night like the shadows unearthed beneath troubled eyes, owls stirring in between the murmuring trees, a single upturned grave in a cemetery that isn’t supposed to be notorious for hauntings, an old fountain still glistening with pennies that are no longer considered currency, a collapsed bottle of wine running the tiles red.

LIBRA: handprints imprinted onto fogged-up windows, red rooms crowded with developing photographs of people whose faces you recognize but cannot quite place, broken doll heads, a necklace that erupted into a sea of pearls, a deflated blow up kiddie pool collecting parched grass and critters, a busted arcade game & the laughter of people long gone still trapped inside the walls.

SCORPIO: books with grimacing yellow pages, someone attempting to sell you a cursed object on etsy, a leaky shower-head, a clock that’s stuck in time, a torn, unravelled couch sitting deserted in someone’s front lawn, candy stores that proclaim sales on expired sweets & ruddy patches of farmland. 

SAGITTARIUS: basements stacked with unwanted toys, a box of thin-mints, footsteps reverberating around the house when it’s 2 AM and you’re home alone, a burned down lemonade stand, that weird alien light in the third window of your neighbor’s house that never seems to get turned off, a certain rattling coming from the kitchen.

CAPRICORN: rain pummeling against damp ceilings, clothes ripped off the washing line, an empty aquarium, obscure little thrift stores that sell leather jackets from the eighties, gas station lights flirting with you from the distance, the alley where they say the vagabonds roam their night countries, sniffing up and dressing down and slitting the throats of angels.

AQUARIUS: those tiny coffee shops that fill you with nostalgia for places you’ll never visit, ‘JESUS LOVES YOU’ spray-painted across the sides of ramshackle buildings, an antique almirah scratched to high hell, a monster in the closet, the tunnel beneath the bridge that half the town believes is a gateway to hell, smoking up in trip mall parking lots. 

PISCES: halloween decor presented in shop windows a couple months early, visiting that lake where you heard that one kid drowned, the garage door slamming without cause or notice, storing fireflies in jars, drugstore makeup, birthday cake flavored oreos, a wheeled desk chair that seems to turn on its own when nobody’s in the office, a candle snuffed out on a windless evening.

dreamy aesthetics

- flickering neon motel signs that always seem to be missing a really significant letter rendering the glowing word or phrase meaningless

- carnivals that move from town to town; the air hot and ripe with secrets and the sugar-icing scent of cotton candy

- those nights when the wind sounds like the breath of the beautiful stranger sleeping next to you

- crop circles and fields of singed grass where local residents claim alien ships land on the darker eves of the year

- the back alleys of the dingiest night club on the block that look like places where serial killers claim their victims or superheroes swoop to the rescue or cults practice witchcraft

- those nineties themed diners with rollerblading waiters, jukeboxes and cold fries but bucketlist worthy milkshakes

- sitting atop a rooftop you skilfully climbed up but with a terrifying prospect of getting down, pointing to every star that never granted you wishes running your hands through your best friend’s hair and the air feels like warm milk in the throat

- listening to a stream gurgling and gargling rocks in a forest so green it’s like sitting in the heart of an emerald

- binge watching the X-Files in your pajamas there’s chocolate chip ice cream and your two dogs are cuddled up against you, one on your lap and the other curled around your ankles

- greenhouses that swim with sunlight all these exotic flowers that you can’t name aquamarine and scarlet and canary yellow blooms it smells like dirt and honeysuckle and budding life