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Son of a Circus Clown-Fiction by Kip Hanson
Blinders-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Run, Robby, Run, Part 1_Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
707-1900-Fiction by Sean Daly
Bloodbath in a Vegas Firestorm-Fiction by J. Brooke
Resolve-Fiction by Stephen Tillman
Pom Pom-Fiction by Liz McAdams
The Woman on the Bed-Fiction by Justin Swartz
The Thing with Five Fingers-Fiction by Gary Lovisi
The Opposite of Dreams-Fiction by Beau Johnson
An Editor's Rejection Mistake-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Dig-Flash Fiction by Doug Hawley
Alibi, Inc.-Flash Fiction by Roy Dorman
A Slave to My Passion-Flash Fiction by Rick McQuiston
The Beckoning-Poem by Michael Keshigian
and so, naked us-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
fyi-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
last journal entry-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
the story to here-Poem by Meg Baird
Tom cat-Poem by Meg Baird
mon amie/my friend-Poem by Meg Baird
Ravens-Poem by John Grey
Tunnels and the Man-Poem by John Grey
His Body Dug Up from Your Garden-Poem by John Grey
Deuce-Poem by Sanjeev Sethi
Maxilla-Poem by Sanjeev Sethi
Resume-Poem by Sanjeev Sethi
Desperate for Entertainment-Poem by Michael Marrotti
Poetry in Need-Poem by Michael Marrotti
One Man Can Only Take So Much-Poem by Michael Marrotti
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Angel of Manslaughter
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Strange Gardens
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Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Daniel Valentin 2017

A Slave to My Passion


by Rick McQuiston


          I am a slave to my passion. I work hard at it, and am only truly satisfied if I manage to churn out at least two or three pages of quality at every sitting. Anything short of this leaves me with an empty feeling.

Two months ago I started writing a novel, a dark, gritty horror story that began its life in my head and has since spilled over to relatively tangible pieces of paper. With each tortured stroke of my pen, it gains life; with each stroke of my pen, I lose my life.

An interesting choice of words, right? Lose my life.

You see, I chose those particular words because that is exactly what is happening: I'm losing my life. Torn Asunder, my novel, was so aptly named because that is what it is doing to me with each word I write: tearing me apart. It's taking me over, reveling in draining my thoughts, taking pleasure in replacing my will to live with its own will, its own plot.

I lift my cup of tea to my mouth and tip it back, anticipating the warm flow of liquid that soothes my nerves, but find that it is empty.

Apparently, my literary creation wants to deny me even the simplest of pleasures.

With a surge of anger racing through me, compromising any rational thoughts I harbor, I throw the empty cup against a wall and watch it shatter into dozens of pieces.

          Then I look over at the paper on my desk.

My novel looks back at me, assuaging my outburst with false hope and empty promises.

          Finish writing me. You know you want to. Bring the characters to life. Fill them with resolve.

I hesitate because the book is coming along nicely. I'm at the critical juncture where the main antagonist (a demented and thoroughly evil killer whose fiery red hair tops off his nearly seven-foot frame) is attacking the main character. He corners the man with a jagged blade that is pockmarked with rust and proceeds to flail about in a frenzy of bloodlust.

          Make the killer murder the main character.

I write that the killer murders the main character, dispatching him with a startlingly efficient stroke.

 I don't like what I write, but I write it nonetheless. It's like my hand has a will of its own.

Have the killer set his sights on someone else.

I write that the killer sets his sights on someone else, a lonely man who is sitting in a room, writing.

I hear the sound of footsteps and then porcelain cracking. Someone is stepping on the remains of my teacup. Someone is in the room with me, someone I already know, someone I have created.

Someone who is holding a rusty blade that is speckled with blood.

Have the killer murder the author.

I write that the killer murders . . .



Rick McQuiston is a forty-eight year old father of two who loves anything horror-related. He’s had nearly 400 publications so far, and written five novels, nine anthologies, one book of novellas, and edited an anthology of Michigan authors. He’s also a guest author each year at Memphis Junior High School.  Currently, he’s working on his sixth novel. 

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2017