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Ferdie's Christmas-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Dead Meat-Fiction by Morgan Boyd
Twisted Love-Fiction by Mandi Rose
Run, Robby, Run, Part 4-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
All I Want for Christmas-Fiction by Carly Zee
Arterial Spray-Fiction by J. Brook
Murder Boots-Fiction by Jim Farren
The Blueberry Muffin Girl-Fiction by Michael Bauman
Standoff-Fiction by Lester L. Weil
Guns 'N Money-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Fester-Fiction by Mark Renney
The Start of a Bitchin' Year-Fiction by Luke Walters
Reprisal_Fiction by John W. Dennehy
Elevator-Fiction by Doug Hawley
Jamie, with the Blue Eyes-Fiction by Betty J. Sayles
All for the Love of a Good Burger-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Multiple Choice-Flash Fiction by Bill Baber
Karma-Flash Fiction by Dr. I. M. Irascible
That Poe Story-Flash Fiction by Chris McGinley
Nome-Flash Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Underestimated-Poem by Marci McKim
The Stream of Life-Poem by Aiki Mann
Christmas Tale-Poem by Joe Balaz
In Loving Memory Of-Poem by Michael Marrotti
The Tattooed Man-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
You Got a Friend-Poem by Jerry Vilhotti
70,000 Birds-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Migrations #1-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
at the crest-Poem by Meg Baird
Gottingen Street 1998-Poem by Meg Baird
a subtle karate pose-Poem by Mark Young
The chains coil up into helical structures-Poem by Mark Young
Dream I'd Like to Forget-Poem by Alan Britt
Near Dawn-Poem by Alan Britt
Mischievous Ghosts-Poem by Alan Britt
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
The Gazing Ball
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Hillary Lyon 2017

Twisted Love

by Mandi Rose


The knock on the door woke Krista up from a much-needed, deep sleep. All afternoon, she’d been wrapping Christmas gifts. And she hadn’t slept well, last night.

The man’s yelling frightened her till she realized she knew the voice. It was Billy, her ex-boyfriend from Philly. Lord knows what had brought him all the way to Jersey. North Jersey, yet. Things didn’t end quite well between them. And they hadn’t spoken in two years.

How did he even know where she was living? She’d changed her address, along with other parts of her life, when they fell out. She couldn’t handle living that way, anymore. The reminders were killing her soul. Crying every night was not conducive to her mental health.

So why was he here, now? What could he want from her?

Reluctantly, she opened the door a crack. She couldn’t believe how much she’d missed looking into his eyes. Behind his glasses, they were beautiful, and deep brown. When he smiled, she melted just as she always had.

She had to get a grip on the situation. She needed to find out what he wanted and how he’d found her.

The love they once shared shone in their eyes, even now. Billy looked good in his blue Levi’s jeans and button-down white shirt. “Krista,” he said, “Please let me in. Just for a little while. Just to talk.”

She opened the door wider, to give him room to walk past her. She’d always found it difficult to turn him away.

He was the one weakness she had.

She led him into the living room, where it might be safer to speak. The last thing she needed was to jump into bed with the same person who had crushed her, two years ago. All she wanted now was a peaceful, quiet life, with no complications.

He tried to lean in, to kiss her cheek, but she walked to the other side of the room.

“Krista?” he said, not too happy.

What does he want? she thought, sitting at her desk. Maybe there she would feel safer. Finally, she spoke.

“Billy, is there something you came here for?”

He smiled wider, probably hoping she’d listen with her normally open mind and heart. “I needed to see you. I needed to know you were OK.”

She almost choked back the sarcasm. “You, worried about me?” she said. “That’s a laugh. You didn’t seem to care when I needed you. Why are you really here?”

His eyes look more pained, more real now. Walking over to kneel by her side, he took her hand, softly kissed it. “I’ve missed you,” he said, “with such tremendous pain, and regret, as to our demise. I love you. I’ve always loved you. I hated that you moved on with that guy after we broke up.”

She pulled her hand away. “We broke up after you beat me so bad, it took me two weeks in the hospital to recover!” She got up from the desk. “Somehow, I don’t classify that as love, Billy. You loved the drugs more than me.”

“Really? You don’t miss me even one bit?” he said, angrily. “Who are you fucking these days? Or, should I say, with how many are you fucking? I know you cheated multiple times on me. I have videos to prove it.”

“When did I become a big, tall, blonde woman?” she said. “When did I ever look Spanish, with that skin tone, and a huge birthmark on my cheek? You’ve got some imagination, Billy. You found any excuse to hurt me. Well, I can’t say that I missed that.”

Seeing how she was standing up to him now, he had to realize he’d lost control over her mind. She wasn’t going to cave into his manipulating ways.

With a horrible look, he rushed towards her, wrapping his big, meaty hands around her throat.

She tried to scream, but couldn’t. Quickly, her oxygen was cutting off. He was just too strong.

She reached toward the desk, grasping at anything she could. Just out of reach, she felt something metallic, maybe the letter opener. Where were the scissors? Under the Christmas tree, or . . .

No, here. The scissors were here. As the seconds passed, she was getting weaker.  But she could . . . just . . .  reach them.

With all her strength, she swung her arm up toward his throat. With one, two, three stabs, his grip loosened from her neck. Blood splattered all over, as he fell to the floor.

Struggling for air, she stood, watching him die. She’d got his jugular. His glasses askew, he clutched helplessly at his throat, as more blood shot up. Their eyes met once more, before he died.

Sad, Krista thought, breathing hard, as she looked around the room. This was one holiday that would never be forgotten.

All the presents under the tree would have to be rewrapped. But . . .

Merry Christmas to me, she thought. At last I’m free!

Mandi Rose is a single mother of two, working two jobs. Recently she became a first-time grandmother. Mandi resides in North Jersey with her teen daughter, but has her sights on Florida. In the little spare time she has, writing is what assists in keeping her sane as she takes bits from her life.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2017