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The Wrong Thing to Say-Fiction by Bill Baber
Late One Night, We Killed them All-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Call it in the Air!-Fiction by Jim Farren
Arendt and Eichmann: Behind Bars-Fiction by Edward Francisco
A Provocation Game-Fiction by Norbert Kovacs
Carol's-Fiction by G Emil Ruetter
Casting Call for a Tijuana Firing Squad-Fiction by j brooke
Preserving Beauty-Fiction by Paul Michael Dubal
Straight Shooter-Fiction by Mark Joseph Kevlock
Meat-Fiction by F. Michael LaRosa
The Internship-Fiction by Henry Simpson
The Knife She Done it With-Fiction by Matt Phillips
Almond-Flash Fiction by Francis Woodland
Squatters-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
The Cookie Crumbles-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
A Funeral Pyre-Flash Fiction by Karen Schauber
Twist-Flash Fiction by Ram Praseth
Something Has Happened-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
unbound-poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
Sweet Rivalry-Poem by Meg Baird
when it comes round-Poem by Meg Baird
Dat No Apply to Debra-Poem by Joe Balaz
No Can Change Its Stripes-Poem by Joe Balaz
Infested-Poem by John Grey
Living With the Dead-Poem by John Grey
They-Poem by John Grey
Chesapeake Night-Poem by Gregory E. Lucas
Sunrise on Port Royal Sound, SC-Poem by Gregory E. Lucas
The Final Dream-Poem by Gregory E. Lucas
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 Ann Marie Rhiel 2018





Cindy Rosmus



          A gift? Nah, it’s more like a curse. And different people get different type signs.


     Like Mrs. Hinckley, my old neighbor, used to see rain in front of your face. Yeah, rain. If you were the one, she’d see streams of water coming down, so she could hardly make out your features. And real soon, you’d be. . . .


     Some people smell flowers, like at a funeral. Lilies, I guess.

     But me . . . I don’t know anybody else who smells what I do.


     Years back, it started, when I was a freshman in high school. The week before my brother was supposed to graduate.


     You know, Vinnie. Who was more like a sister than a brother. Always whining, and depressed about stuff. This time it was graduation.

      It was this unusually hot, humid June night. 

      I’d sniffed the air. “Hey Mom . . .” I said. “Are you baking? In this heat?” We had no a/c, back then.

       “Baking?” Mom laughed, hoarsely. “You crazy? I’m doing my hair. It’s Saturday night.” A whoosh of hairspray, but I couldn’t smell that.

      Cookies, I smelled. Mmmmmm . . . Chocolate chip, or . . . oatmeal? They smelled so good. . . . 


      At least, in my head. 

      I’d checked the oven, and it was cold.

       Oversized cookies, with burnt edges, I pictured. But inside them, maggots squirmed.

       I gagged. Hunger had turned to nausea, fast.

      Where had that come from?

      “Mom . . .” I said. 

      Please don’t go out, I thought. It’s raining. Roads are slick.


      “What?” she said, through a Virginia Slim. Those long, skinny cigarettes she loved more than Vinnie and me.




      Cancer, I feared. Tonight, more than ever. What was it about this night? Why couldn’t I shake this feeling?


      The smell of cookies was stronger, now. Like they’d come fresh out of that cold, dead oven.

      It took Mom forever to get ready. Finally, she grabbed her purse and keys. “Sandy,” she said. “Where’s your brother?”

      He’d been gone since supper. In the kitchen, he’d split up his chicken salad with the fork but hadn’t taken one bite. That glazed look was in his eyes, like he saw far beyond what most kids saw. 


      In my mind, I saw him, upstairs: eyes bulging, stretched neck bloated and purple, swinging from a homemade noose.


    “Mom!” I screamed.

      Maybe she saw it, too. One look, and she raced upstairs, dropping her purse on the way. The can of hairspray fell out, clunked down the stairs. 

      I was frozen. She threw open Vinnie’s door and wailed. I sunk down to the floor. 

      And the smell of cookies finally went away.

      It came back, naturally, when the cancer ate up Mom’s liver and brain. That one lung was just a midnight snack. 

      In college, I was caught off-guard. Winter nights, most of us hit the diner for hot cocoa and pastries. But on our floor, some chicks baked for the hell of it.

      I smelled cookies long after our dorm burned down. . . .


      And my husband was shot. I could go on.


      Nah, enough of this. Thanks for the coffee. Next time, it’s on me.


      We can share one of those rich, chocolately croissants.


      No? Well, whatever they are, they smell really, really good.




Cindy is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks like Anybody’s from West Side Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so needs no excuse to drink or do whatever the hell she wants She’s been published in the usual places, such as Shotgun Honey, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out of the Gutter, Mysterical-E, and Twisted Sister. She is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights activist.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2018