Black Petals Issue #74 Winter, 2016

Masks of Innocence
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Beyond the Stars-Fiction by Brian McLelland
Doesn't Play Well with Others-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Killkenny Man-Fiction by Charles C. Cole
The Family F.-Fiction by George C. Economou
Masks of Innocence-Fiction by Dr. Mel Waldman
Trim Thought-Fiction by Chris Moylan
When the Sea Shall Give Up Her Dead-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
Anticipating Miracles- 3 Poems by Teresa Ann Frazee
Cemetery Haze-3 poems by Michael Keshigian
Seven Horror Haiku-by Denny E. Marshall
Four Zombie Haiku-by Denny E. Marshall
Love Letter (to L. W.)-Poem by Reyhan Qayoom

Fiction by Dr. Mel Waldman


Masks of Innocence


By Dr. Mel Waldman



Covered with masks, my olive-hued face is chimerical-unreal. I wear masks and I am the masks I wear.

Here, in this tiny tomblike room in the drug clinic, I sit on a broken armchair and listen to the harrowing words of the other. You are the other that wears masks of innocence. And you are the masks you wear.

You glare at me. Your frenzied black eyes drill a hole of terror in my pounding heart. Your massive body and malignant thoughts fill the room.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“How am I looking?”

“Very angry, evil.”

It’s late in the afternoon. He’s my last patient. The clinic’s closed. People are leaving.

I glance at the phone on the desk.

“Try making that call and I’ll kill you,” the soft-spoken man says dispassionately.

Time crawls and no one comes to check on us. We are alone in the clinic.

My hands lie on the desk about a foot from the phone. His furious eyes dart across my face and land on my bony-fleshy symbols of freedom or death.

“Keep your hands where they are,” he orders, eyes rolling back and forth in a tempest.

My hands are still. A malicious smile spreads across his face, a seething cauldron of madness.

Time slows down and almost stops.

The oceanic silence devours me.

Against my will, my hands tremble. His wicked smile widens and the rushing waves within his eyes vanish. And now, calm cold eyes gaze at me, stab and cut my spirit, slice my brainwaves, and rape my soul. My frenzied eyes sail across the room and rush into a vacant universe.

Suddenly, a bestial laugh shatters the horrific silence. (Is it his or mine?)

He rises, turns around, opens the door, and saunters off. (Does my terror free him? Does it save me?)

No one believes my story.

“He’s a harmless fellow,” they insist, but transfer him to another clinic down the hall.

Decades pass. Perhaps, he’s still out there, next door.


(But now, the mammoth man lives inside my head, in a tiny room of terror, where he reveals who he really is and I discover who I am behind closed doors.)


The End



Dr. Mel Waldman,, of Brooklyn, NY, wrote BP #74’s “Masks of Innocence” (+BP #72’s 3-poem set, “Inside the Slaughterhouse,” “Scorpio,” & “Strange Highways”). He is a psychologist, poet, and writer whose stories have appeared in numerous magazines, including HARDBOILED DETECTIVE, HARDBOILED, DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE, ESPIONAGE, THE SAINT, DOWN IN THE DIRT, CC&D, PULP METAL MAGAZINE, INNER SINS, YELLOW MAMA, and AUDIENCE. His poems have been widely published in magazines and books, including LIQUID IMAGINATION, A NEW ULSTER, THE BROOKLYN LITERARY REVIEW, THE BROOKLYN VOICE, BRICKPLIGHT, THE BITCHIN’ KITSCH, CLOCKWISE CAT, CRAB FAT MAGAZINE, SKIVE MAGAZINE, ODDBALL MAGAZINE,  ON THE RUSK, POETRY PACIFIC, POETICA, RED FEZ, SQUAWK BACK, SWEET ANNIE & SWEET PEA REVIEW, THE JEWISH LITERARY JOURNAL, THE JEWISH PRESS, THE JERUSALEM POST, HOTMETAL PRESS, MAD SWIRL, HAGGARD & HALLOO, ASCENT ASPIRATIONS, and NAMASTE FIJI: THE INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY. A past winner of the literary GRADIVA AWARD in Psychoanalysis, he was nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE in literature and is the author of 11 books. Four of his mystery, fantasy, and horror stories were published by POSTSCRIPTS, a British magazine and international anthology, in November 2014. He recently completed an experimental mystery novel inspired by one of Freud’s case studies and is looking for an agent. He has been inspired for decades by his patients and their heroic stories of trauma and survival.

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