Black Petals Issue #72 Summer, 2015

Chaos in Corollary

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Brutal-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
Chaos in Corollary-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
In Dreams, There Is No Time-Fiction by George Gad Economou
Nuncapisco-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
Ocean Life-Fiction by Lael Braday
Onward Traveler-Fiction by Kathleen Wolak
The Beach House-Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Weeping Man-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Poetry & Prose by Alexis Child
Poetry by John Frazee
Poetry by Denny Marshall
Poetry by Jeffrey Park
Poetry by Dr. Mel Waldman


Chaos in Corollary

By A.M. Stickel, Editor

“Oh, what tangled webs we weave...”



…Never believe anyone who says alien probes don’t hurt like hell. They’re lying through whatever teeth the aliens haven’t harvested. Abduction is no picnic… [Excerpt, Mercia’s diary]

The final day at Camp Corollary had not been easy for Tent Counselor Miss Emmy. Finding out that one of the 11-year-olds in her tent was pregnant was a bad beginning. Being the ‘adult’ figure responsible for said mini-mama, she was looking for clues in the camper’s diary, stuffed in the usual place: under her hammock blankets. The diarist, Mercia, was with the nurse, who was busy dealing with a crisis of her own.

Emmy knew that invading a camper’s personal space was a big no-no—a betrayal of the unspoken trust between a counselor and ‘her girls’ strictly forbidden by the official Camp Handbook, not to mention being politically incorrect. But her foremost thought was: What am I going to tell the mother when she comes for the Closing Ceremonies and Awards Campfire?

Her reading light via the tent-house entryway was interrupted. Startled, Emmy looked up, right into the afternoon sun. My girls should be across the lake exploring nature with Activity Director Judy. Are they back early?

“I hope you’ve a darn good explanation for what you’re doing, Counselor!” snarled the Head Counselor, who’d been on her way to a nice nap in her own tent-house in Haunted Hollow (so named to keep campers away).

Uh-oh! Miss ‘Stormy’ Gale’s dressings down were legendary, combining morbid menace with cold, cutting courtesy. Miss Emmy still remembered how, her second day on the job, Stormy had sniffed at Emmy’s uniform and stage-whispered, “Go change—handbook rules of hygiene,” in front of her girls at their assigned cafeteria table.

“According to her diary, Mercia is p.g.,” confessed Emmy in a quavering voice. The thought of facing up to Stormy’s glare made her feel faint. “How could I know Mercia’s stomach aches weren’t the usual ‘homesickness syndrome’ covered in our handbook?”

“That diary—from you—to me—now!” Stormy’s hands moved from her hips to in-your-face as she sprang from threshold to hammock. “This is an all-female facility, including Security—and their dogs—nothing male within a hundred-mile radius. These girls are celibate, science-loving geeks, veritable clones of their mothers.”

“Well, Miss Gale, her diary says she was abducted and probed by aliens. Maybe they did more than just probe.” Emmy passed Stormy the evidence, but with gaze averted in deferential fear.

“And I bet she wrote about Bigfeet leaping the fence, right past Security, and chasing campers?”

“Uh…we don’t exactly have eyes in the sky since the Camp Sponsors nixed drone surveillance in favor of organic food in the cafeteria.” Emmy finally dared a peek to gauge her superior’s reaction.

“You’re not privy to budget info,” Stormy’s eyes narrowed. Booted toes tapped.

“It’s on the web.”

“But not in the Public Domain. And why would you need to know, anyway?”

“My boyfriend’s a hacker…and I had to be sure of my honorarium before I applied. We’re saving up for school…and a nice honeymoon.”

“BOY friend?” Stormy’s voice registered her disgust. “Next, you’ll be telling me you’re waiting till you’re married to—”

“Oh, we are, we are.” Emmy winced, more from the truth than if she’d lied.

“Personal information overload, when what I do need to know is exactly how a scrawny little kid like that—”

“Although the test was positive, the child’s intact, at least according to Nurse Becky,” offered Emmy. “Maybe the alien impregnation is her vivid imagination making up for being so undersized for her age.”

“Thank Gawd I’m not in the medical profession,” growled Stormy.

I do! Emmy’s silent prayer was interrupted by the sounds of running feet. One of her girls, Rosalie, came flying into the tent and caromed off of the Head Counselor (muddying Stormy’s pristine attire).

Stormy immediately collared Rosalie in a very non-P.C. manner, and barked, “NO RUNNING!”

“The d-d-dogs…are…gone…and—” choked out the mud-covered girl, eyes stark in her tear-streaked face.

“Which is no excuse for your filthy state,” finished Stormy.

Emmy hugged Rosalie, ignoring the mud, made room for her in the hammock, and quietly asked, “What’s wrong, Rosy?”

“Our moms have been turned into zombies! After the buses pulled up and unloaded, the moms knocked down the fence and went into the woods after any dogs and guards that couldn’t make it to the infirmary or cafeteria. The guards locked us girls out. They and the cooks screamed and waved guns and cleavers at us, and closed up the cafeteria too. If only we hadn’t lied to get out of going with Miss Judy this morning!

“We jumped into the lake and covered ourselves with mud, so our moms couldn’t detect us. Then Bella remembered the part about emergencies in the Handbook and volunteered me to come warn the off-duty counselors…thanks to that stupid Speed Medal I won last week.”

“Hmmm…” Stormy rubbed her chin, deep in thought, and then said, “If this isn’t a practical joke of some kind, which I’m 99% sure it is, then it stands to reason that zombies crave the best quality brains, first and foremost. Why would they settle for dog brains, or even guards’ and cooks’ brains, and not head straight for me and the other counselors? Listen, both of you, I bet there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for what you think you saw...or read. Corollary is, after all, dedicated to scientific truths. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to change. Wait for me here.”

“DON’T GO OUT THERE!” screamed Emmy and Rosalie in unison.

In the next instant, the screams died in their throats as their eyes bulged in shocked astonishment. Although night had not yet fallen, from behind dark clouds, a silvery full moon was visible. Before it rose a terrible figure vaguely resembling Stormy Gale. She had removed the pendant that kept her from changing into a werebeastess—hairy, with razor-sharp talons, dripping fangs, and a deadly stench. The monster fixed her glowing green gaze on them briefly, turned, and loped off downhill (and, to their relief, downwind).

Woom-woom-woom-zzzap! Kachoong! Kachoong!

The silvery moon was actually a flying saucer! It began raining deadly rays on shuffling zombies as they tried to climb the hill. The rays also set several of the tent-houses ablaze. But Stormy Gale was too fast for the alien rays. Bypassing the zombies, she shattered the barricades blocking the entries to the cafeteria and infirmary, and, after tossing aside the guard dogs, shredded those traitorous guards and cooks into beasty-bite size.

Alas! The werebeastess was too late to save Mercia, who, centered in a beam of light, floated up into the saucer’s belly hatch. The beam then traveled to the tent-house where Emmy and Rosalie huddled together, frozen in fear. They felt a powerful tug on their bodies, and, just as their feet left the floor…


“OUCH!” Miss Emmy woke up on the floor. What a terrible nightmare! I’m never counseling at another science fiction camp again. The napper felt herself all over for reassurance that she hadn’t been injured in the fall. Everything checked out: nothing broken—all eight limbs in perfect working condition. Time to get back to weaving my stories. Maybe I’ll feature those hideous 4-limbed aliens in the next one.


The End


Except…she felt something warm trickle down her neck. It wasn’t a mosquito bite because it didn’t itch, and her hand came away ichorous. Oh no!

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