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


Strange Music Follows Her Everywhere


By Hillary Lyon


Artificial dalliance



She was number 1,435 off the assembly line. Before the finishing stage, she looked like every model before her: bald, smooth, bland, with eyes of no discernible color. Bereft of programming and battery pack. Giacomo would take care of all that when she arrived at his station.

As a finisher, Giacomo was an artiste, famous for taking great care with small details, like the tint of permanent lipstick applied, the quality and style of hair, length of fingernails, color of eyes, and tone of voice. The root of his creativity? Boredom and madness—though his superiors had no clue. If they had, he’d have been fired. So with a mischievous gleam in his watery eyes and a sense of divine purpose, when #1,435 came to his station, he went to work. Bent over her form, frantically whispering to himself like the mad scientist he actually was, Giacomo speedily poked and painted and put all the accoutrements of socially accepted beauty in place. 

Lastly, Giacomo gently inserted her program chip. He didn’t use one of the standard chips Ladytron Inc. supplied by the thousands, all dumped in a cardboard box on his work-desk. No, he used a chip he’d accidentally damaged when he tried to mate it with a musical program chip. There was a reason he was a finisher, and not a programmer.

In another unusual and absolutely forbidden move, Giacomo dressed her himself: white, mid-calf, patent-leather go-go boots, rainbow striped mini-dress, over-large purple-lensed sunglasses (to hide her intentionally heterochromatic irises—one dark brown, one bright blue), a stack of plastic bangle bracelets, and a shiny switchblade (which Giacomo nicknamed Penny—for penetrator) snug in her frilly garter. This was fun! No wonder little girls liked to dress up dolls. He rubbed his soft pudgy hands together in maniacal glee.

She awoke with the press of a button on the nape of her neck. “I dub thee, Alice,” Giacomo giggled. “Now wander forth into Wonderland, and do as ye must with a vengeance.” He led her to the back of the factory, and opening a forgotten door in need of a good oiling, pushed her through and into the desert waiting outside.

Warmed by the sun, her programming chip livened, and with each dusty step soft, strange music emanated from her head. She trudged through the sucking sand and dry brush and hostile cacti until she came to a small highway town. From there she took a bus to New Brass City. Being recognized as a highly desirable Ladytron Star-Star Model, she needed no currency. 

Once she landed in New Brass City, children stared at the hyper-feminine, animated adult-sized dolly, while grown women grimaced, and men leered. Following her unconventional program, she wandered, day and night, until she located the city’s quaintly-named Red Light District. There she planted herself beneath a flickering streetlight, on a littered, graffiti-smeared corner by a seedy strip club.

In the wee hours, drunks would approach her, one at a time, attracted by her beauty—and her perceived blatant sexual availability. The cherry on top of her magnetic draw was the odd music surrounding her, like a halo of atonal, treacly bliss. And true to Giacomo’s damaged program, she’d take them by the hand to lead them into the dark alley behind the noisy, neon-lit club…and show them her shiny Penny.


The End



Hillary Lyon,, who wrote BP #83’s “Strange Music Follows Her Everywhere” (+ BP #78’s “The Lucky Break”), lives in southern Arizona, where she founded and edits poetry journals for Subsynchronous Press. Her stories have appeared in 365 Tomorrows, Eternal Haunted Summer, Night to Dawn, The Sirens Call, Trembling with Fear, Yellow Mama, and numerous horror anthologies such as Alternate Hilarities 5: One Star Reviews of the Afterlife, Fright Mare, More Tales from the Blue Gonk Cafe, My American Nightmare, Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big Easy, Stories from the Graveyard, Surreal Nightmares II, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. When not writing, she hand-paints boxes and furniture in the colorful, Dia de los Muertos style and creates artwork for horror and pulp-fiction magazines.

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