Black Petals Issue #83 Spring, 2018

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Door #2-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Inmate's Asylum-Fiction by Mark Joseph Kevlock
Nature Verses Nurture-Fiction by Donna J. W. Munro
Strange Music Follows Her Everywhere-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Surviving Montezuma, Conclusion-Serialized Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Corpse Grinder-Poem by Alexis Child
El Cuero-Four Poems by Richard Stevenson


Nature Verses Nurture

By Dona J. W. Munro


Just for the sake of argument



“We’re scientific people,” Jonathan said. “We need the scientific method and measurable goals. You assume such a thing can be created, and it’s not just sexual mythology explaining night terrors.”

“Succubi and vampires are very different. Plenty of blood-based diseases might create bloodlust—perhaps anemia…other diseases—” Janie began.

“Porphyria? Ingesting blood doesn’t benefit them,” Jonathan retorted.

“In a universe of possibilities, all things exist. Every variant must be reality. We seek them out, then we—”

“I don’t want to be one or find one. I want to make one.”

Their argument spiraled. Jonathan understood biology. Janie practiced psychology. He banked on nature: breaks in genes spawned measurable monsters. Janie thought vampires were damaged humans—nurture.

I sipped my warm Bloody Mary and waited. Would we hunt vamps or force-feed some sucker blood to create a measurable monster?

 “What do you think, Tristan?” Janie asked.

 “Nature. Nurture. Such a creature would be both. Transformation by bite suggests disease, but to break down essential taboos against drinking blood suggests damage deep in the psyche. A bite plus torture—yes?” I asked.

 “So we find a vampire. We’ll need—”

 Jon broke in, as he does, “No, we just—”

 I waved my hand, silencing both with a compulsion.

 “I thought they’d never stop!” My fangling, Mary, stepped from the puddled shadows.

 I swallowed the last of her lifeblood offering inside my glass. “You pick—nature or nurture?”

 She crossed the room in a breath, as our young do. Standing between my companions, she chose both.


The End



Donna J.W. Munro, of St. Charles, MO, who wrote BP #83’s “Nature vs. Nurture,” has spent the last 17 years teaching high school social studies. Her students inspire her every day. An alumni of the Seton Hill Writing Popular Fiction program, she has published pieces in Every Day Fiction, Syntax and Salt, Dark Matter Journal, the Seton Hill Kindle anthology Hazard Yet Forward (2012), the new anthology Enter the Apocalypse (2017), Killing It Softly 2 (2017), and several upcoming in 13 Press. Contact her at

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